Development and Testing of Environmental DNA (eDNA) Protocols for the Endangered James Spinymussel (Pleurobema collina)

Project No: 107901

Target Completion Date: December 11, 2017 Environment, Planning, and Economics

About the project:

The James Spinymussel (Pleurobema collina) is a freshwater mussel endemic to riverine aquatic habitats in nontidal streams of Virginia’s James River basin. Since it is a federally listed endangered species, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) must conduct biological surveys of this species before initiating projects. These conventional surveys are relatively costly and require a high degree of technical training for personnel.

Environmental DNA is a noninvasive way to detect the presence of rare, endangered or invasive species by isolating discrete pieces of nuclear or mitochondrial DNA from the water column. DNA material is extracted from water samples collected in the field and subjected to PCR amplification in the laboratory.

This project will develop and test protocols to identify the presence and relative biomass of the James Spinymussel using environmental DNA approaches, which will be broadly applicable to VDOT activities beyond this species.

Project Team

Project Monitor

Other Investigators

  • Rodney Dyer, Gregory Garmin

Last updated: July 5, 2023

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