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The development of an eDNA based detection method for the invasive shrimp Dikerogammarus haemobaphesDikerogammarus haemobaphes is a freshwater gammarid crustacean native to the Ponto-Caspian region. However, the species is rapidly spreading throughout Western Europe and is classed as a highly invasive species. Here we present a novel eDNA assay aimed at detecting D. haemobaphes and demonstrate its suitability with validation steps conducted in-silico (computer simulations), ex-situ (test of specificity using closely related species) and in-situ (within the field). A survey of freshwater systems in the West-Midlands, United Kingdom, highlighted that D. haemobaphes was present in 26 out of the 39 sites assessed. We conclude that eDNA detection for D. haemobaphes is a promising tool for assessing and mapping the presence/distribution of this invasive amphipod.
Early detection of an emerging invasive species: eDNA monitoring of a parthenogenetic crayfish in freshwater systemsProcambarus virginalis, also known as the Marmorkrebs is a highly invasive crayfish species characterized by parthenogenetic reproduction. As conservation management plans rely on the accuracy of the presence and distribution information of invasive species, a reliable method is needed for detecting such species in aquatic systems. We developed and validated a qPCR-based assay for monitoring P. virginalis at low abundance, by detecting their eDNA traces left in freshwater systems. We were able to implement this new assay in-situ at two separate lakes in Germany, where the crayfish were known to be present. Furthermore, we did not detect the pathogenic fungus Aphanomyces astaci in the locations where the Marmorkrebs were detected. We conclude that the use of eDNA is therefore a reliable tool for the early detection of this “perfect invader”.