Scientists Detect Rare Species Using DNA Found in Streams
Hard-to-find aquatic animals can now be surveyed using environmental DNA.
By New West Editor, 8-18-11
Idaho Giant Salamander (Dicamptodon Aterrimus). Photo courtesy of U.S. Forest Service.
Problem: You’re a field biologist trying to assess the population of a secretive , imperiled aquatic species—let’s say a salamander—but you can’t find the little devil, so how can you count it?
Solution: Don’t try to eyeball the critters. Collect their DNA from cells they shed into the water.
This ingenious method, developed over recent years, has taken another major step forward with the publication of a paper from University of Idaho researchers in the peer-reviewed PLoS One.