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GLOBES/IGERT Co-PI David Lodge appears in MSNBC news story on Asian carp invading the Great Lakes


Research surveillance techniques, specifically environmental DNA (eDNA) detection tools that are used to identify and monitor invasive species, have come to the forefront in the multi-state battle to prevent Asian carp from invading the Great Lakes. At risk is the future of one of the largest fresh water systems in the world and a $7 billion sport fishing industry. Dr. David Lodge, Co-PI of the GLOBES-IGERT program and director of the Center for Aquatic Conservation at the University of Notre Dame, appears in this MSNBC news story on recent efforts to protect Lake Michigan from the advancing population of Asian carp. (Dec. 5, 2009).

The eDNA detection tools represent an exciting new frontier in species detection. GLOBES-IGERT Trainees Cameron Turner and Matt Barnes are part of the Lodge team of researchers who quantify the concentration of Asian carp DNA in water samples that are collected during ongoing surveillance of the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a man-made shipping link that connects the Mississippi River system to Lake Michigan. Their research seeks to refine the eDNA detection method and to determine its future application to other species and ecosystems.

In collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, the Lodge team works to better understand the dynamics and sensitivity of eDNA in a variety of natural conditions thereby greatly improving eradication methods and prevention of invasive populations. In December 2009, a team of scientists from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was invited to observe and audit the methodology used to detect the presence of Asian carp from start to finish. Their conclusion, in short, was to find a “high degree of confidence” in the eDNA methods employed.