Monitoring spawning activity through eDNA

Determining the timing and location of breeding events is important for understanding species’ biology for effective wildlife management. Many aquatic organisms breed through spawning, with males releasing a vast quantity of spermatozoa into the waterway. eDNA surveys were able to successfully detect a change in the relative abundance of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA in laboratory and field studies, enabling identification of spawning activity in the endangered Macquarie perch, Macquaria australasica. This demonstrates the potential of the eDNA method for detecting reproductive activity in aquatic organisms to increase knowledge of the reproductive biology of elusive species.

The ratios between Macquarie perch nuclear and mitochondrial environmental DNA (eDNA) concentrations over time in treatment tanks. Solid lines represent Experimental Spawning Tanks (EST) while dashed lines represent Experimental Control Tanks (ECT). Ten millilitres of water (ECT) or a mixture of milt and water (EST) were added after 336 h.


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Project Leader

Dr. Jonas Bylemans


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