eDNA sampling as a non-invasive monitoring tool for threatened and endangered species: Experimental studies using Topeka Shiners (Notropis topeka)

Topeka Shiner.
Date September 2012 - September 2013
Contact Debbie Baker
Kansas Dept. of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism
Location NESA


From a series of experimental tanks (i.e. tank mesocosms) at the large aquatic mesocosm facility located on the University of Kansas Field Station (KFS), CPCB will sample holding water of cultured populations of Topeka shiner from Kansas.  Our objectives are to 1. determine the relationship between Topeka shiner population densities and detection of eDNA in water samples; and 2. determine the rate of eDNA loss within the water column over time.  The use of eDNA to detect the presence of vertebrates in freshwater systems has been proven to be effective in wetland areas (Ficetola et al. 2008), small headwater streams (Goldberg et al. 2011), and even large rivers and canals (Jerde et al. 2010, Hickox et al. 2011).  In freshwater aquatic systems, eDNA from aquatic animals is dispersed in the water through methods such as the shedding of skin cells, scales, mucus, feces, urine, and the decomposition of the organisms.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officially listed the Topeka shiner as an endangered species in December 1998 (Federal Register 1998).  It is a small minnow that is presently known only from small tributary streams primarily in the Kansas and Cottonwood river basins in Kansas, as well as from a few restricted watersheds in Missouri, Iowa, Nebraska, South Dakota, and Minnesota.  Historically, the Topeka shiner was widespread and abundant throughout many headwater streams of the central prairie regions of the United States, but the known range of this species has been reduced by nearly 90% in the past 50 years (Federal Register 2005). 


Donald Huggins

Debbie Baker