Environmental DNA Presentation

April 1, 2021 - 6:30 PM
MidCoast Watersheds Council

Dr. Kellie Carim in the field.

The MidCoast Watershed Council, now holding its community meetings online, offers a virtual presentation on environmental DNA sampling.  Dr. Kellie Carim will present “What’s in the Stream? Finding Species Through eDNA Sampling” at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m.

DNA is the genetic material that is found in all organisms and each species has its own unique patterns of the genetic code. Environmental DNA (eDNA) is simply DNA that organisms shed into their surrounding environment (water, snow, soil, or even air) through the sloughing off of cells. Biologists can collect and analyze this DNA to understand what animals are in a given area. For example, a glass of water collected from a stream along the Oregon coast will contain the DNA from the organisms living upstream of where that sample was collected. Biologists now have the power to quickly identify the animals present in that stream by filtering out the DNA in that glass of water and analyzing the various genetics codes that are present.

While it may sound like magic, eDNA is becoming common tool in aquatic research and management. In particular, this tool is exceptionally useful for finding species that are rare, elusive, or invasive. For example, the technique has found endangered frogs, fish and marine species when other methods could not find them. Here in western Oregon, it’s helping biologists understand lamprey, freshwater mussels and other fish and shellfish distributions.

Kellie Carim, an eDNA expert, will guide the audience through this fascinating field, and explain how the MCWC is applying this cutting-edge technology to inform conservation and management in our watersheds.  Dr. Carim is an aquatic research biologist with a joint position at the University of Montana and the U.S. Forest Service National Genomics Center for Wildlife and Fish Conservation. Her talk will focus on work with federal, state, tribal, and non-profit partners to understand the presence and distribution of Pacific lamprey in the Columbia River basin and in Oregon’s coastal watersheds.

To register for this event, go here.