Date of Submission

Fall 2017

Academic Programs and Concentrations

Environmental and Urban Studies

Project Advisor 1

Bruce Robertson

Project Advisor 2

Mike Tibbetts

Abstract/Artist's Statement

Anadromous waters consist of waterways that are important for the rearing or migration of anadromous species within Alaska (ADF&G, 2017). Anadromous species include those that migrate from freshwater to salt water and back again, such as all 5 Pacific salmon species. The identification and protection of anadromous waters in Alaska is of the utmost importance due to increased pressure put on fish populations by expanding human populations and changing habitats, yet the identification of anadromous waters still remains a time-consuming, potentially harmful, and expensive task (Huver et al. 2015). Methodology that relies upon less field work and field equipment may increase efficiency of the identification of anadromous waters, and non-invasive methods decrease mortality rates of both target and non-target species. In this study, I used eDNA methodology to identify salmon streams in South-central Alaska. If eDNA methodology was shown to be effective at locating salmon DNA within water samples, then I expected the qPCR to show positive results on known salmon streams. Based upon prior estimations of untested salmon streams, I expected approximately half of my unknown streams to contain salmon eDNA, and all historically negative streams to test negative for salmon DNA. I collected a total of 80 water samples at 40 sites across the Kenai Peninsula Watershed in the summer of 2017. These samples consisted of known salmon streams, streams that do not historically contain salmon, and unknown or previously un-sampled waters. The presence of salmon DNA in water samples was assessed using a quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assay targeting all 5 Pacific salmon species found within Alaska. Results of these eDNA tests showed that 70% of all streams sampled contained salmon eDNA, 30% of all streams tested negative for salmon eDNA, 100% of known positive streams tested positive for salmon DNA, and 40% known (or expected) negative streams tested positive for salmon. Of samples previously unknown or un-sampled streams, 60% tested positive for salmon eDNA. This project showed that more streams than expected contained salmon DNA.

Open Access Agreement

On-Campus only

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
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