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Division: Sport Fish
Title: Evaluation of environmental DNA techniques for the detection of invasive northern pike.
Author: Massengill, R. and K. Dunker.
Year: 2013
Report ID: Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Division of Sport Fish, Regional Operational Plan ROP.SF.2A.2013.02, Anchorage.
Abstract: This study will contract the development of genetic markers for northern pike Esox lucius and utilize those markers to detect northern pike eDNA in water samples using a genetic laboratory technique called polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Testing will determine how sensitive to detection northern pike eDNA is under controlled aquaria and field conditions (i.e. volume of water sample, density of northern pike in the waterbody, length of northern pike presence (live and post-mortem), sample distance from northern pike, etc). In Southcentral Alaska, northern pike prey heavily on rearing salmonids and, in some cases, have been implicated in the decline of local salmon runs. On the Kenai Peninsula, native salmonid populations have been decimated by northern pike predation in places such as Stormy Lake within the Swanson River drainage and from several lakes within the Soldotna Creek drainage. In 2008, the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) began a program to eradicate invasive northern pike from select Southcentral waterbodies. To date, northern pike have been removed from five Kenai Peninsula lakes and two Anchorage lakes. Rotenone (a fish piscicide) was used to remove northern pike from three Kenai Peninsula lakes and two Anchorage lakes and gillnets were used to eradicate northern pike from two Kenai Peninsula lakes containing very small northern pike populations. Field trials will be used to assess the detectability of northern pike eDNA infiled conditions and its persistence following carcass deposition. This study will also apply eDNA detection methods to sample tributaries for northern pike presence, including a lake where the Department recently attempted to eradicate invasive northern pike. Using a combination of approaches, results from this study will allow us to make inferences on the detectability of northern pike eDNA while manipulating variables such as density of northern pike in the waterbody, sample volume size, distance sampling occurs from caged pike and persistence of eDNA over time post-mortem.
Keywords: Kenai Peninsula, lakes, Soldotna Creek Drainage, northern pike, invasive, eDNA, detectability of northern pike