Center for Marine Biodiversity and Conservation
Spatial Dispersion of Red Abalone (Haliotis rufescens) Environmental DNA (eDNA) in a Controlled Marine Environment and Applications of eDNA to Monitor Critically Endangered Abalone (Haliotis spp.) Populations in the Wild
- Author(s): Martin, Lauren
- et al.
The analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) from water samples is improving species monitoring by offering enhanced detection of rare, cryptic, and endangered taxa over traditional survey methods. This study aimed to investigate the dispersion of red abalone (Haliotis rufescens) eDNA in a controlled marine environment and assess the feasibility of detecting presence of abalone (Haliotis spp.) eDNA in the ocean. Genus-specific primers were used to amplify red abalone eDNA, and multiple experiments revealed the eDNA permeated a two million liter volume of seawater within 18 hours of introduction. Field validation was conducted with seawater samples from two locations where abalone are known to occur along the California coast, and both samples amplified presumed abalone eDNA using the same genus-specific primers. Environmental DNA is a promising tool to detect the presence of cryptic and endangered abalone species in the ocean, with the potential to complement and strengthen current visual survey methods.