eDNA-Alpfish: Detection and semi-quantitative assessment of fish populations in Alpine rivers using environmental DNA



The eDNA-Alpfish project addresses knowledge gaps which are key for a meaningful monitoring fish populations by eDNA. It comprises a wide range of laboratory and field experiments as well as extensive field sampling using eDNA sampling and conventional electrofishing in various running waters in Tyrol. The objectives of the eDNA-Alpfish project are (i) the assessment of species-specific eDNA shedding rates of various rhithral fish species, (ii) to optimize eDNA sampling and preservation procedure, (iii) to understand how eDNA is distributed in rivers employing a cage experiment at different run off scenarios, (iv) to compare fish biodiversity and abundances estimates between fish data obtained by electrofishing and eDNA signal strength and (v) to compare different molecular methodologies in their sensitivity to detect and quantify eDNA including CE-PCR, droplet digital PCR and eDNA metabarcoding via next generation sequencing.

This project is funded by the Austria Research Promotion Agency (FFG) within the BRIDGE programme where the ARGE Limnologie GmbH (Christian Moritz, Richard Schwarzenberger) acts as the industry partner. Furthermore, eDNA-Alpfish involves the scientific collaboration with Josef Wanzenböck (Research Department for Limnology, University of Innsbruck) and Thorsten Schwerte (Institute of Zoology, University of Innsbruck).

Together with Josef Wanzenböck and Elisabeth Wolf (MSc student), Bettina Thalinger and Michael Traugott explored in a sister project how well fish migrations can be monitored employing daily measurements of eDNA.


ATE members involved in eDNA-Alpfisch:

  • Bettina Thalinger & Michael Traugott (PI)
  • Dominik Kirschner, Yannick Pütz (MSc. students)
  • Andreas Sapelza, Andreas Rieder, Anna Teuffenbach, Urban Aufschnaiter (BSc. students)




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