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Monday, January 25 • 4:00pm - 4:20pm
Alternative Methods To Process Ichthyoplankton Tows For The Genetic Identification Of Asian Carp Eggs and Larvae

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AUTHORS: S. Grace McCalla, U.S. Geological Survey; Brent C. Knights, U.S. Geological Survey; Bridget Ladell; Jenna Malinauskas, , U.S. Geological Survey; James Larson, , U.S. Geological Survey; Jon Amberg, U.S. Geological Survey; Maren Tuttle-Lau, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service; Emy Monroe, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

ABSTRACT: Reproductive activity of Asian carp Hypophthalmichthys spp. in the Upper Mississippi River and Laurentian Great Lakes is routinely monitored by sampling ichthyoplankton. Fish eggs and larvae collected in ichthyoplankton tows have been traditionally identified visually, which requires extensive sorting of samples to remove unnecessary material and identify target species. The lack of distinguishing morphological characteristics often obscures accurate identification of egg and larval samples. This time consuming and sometimes inaccurate technique (i.e., ichthyoplankton processing) might reduce the effectiveness of control measures because of delays in obtaining accurate information used to set priorities and initiate actions. A method to rapidly isolate and accurately identify a targeted species in ichthyoplankton tows could thus increase the effectiveness of control measures. Molecular techniques exist that can easily differentiate species without destroying morphological integrity, but methods to use with fish eggs and larvae collected in ichthyoplankton tows have not been fully developed. To address this need, we developed a non-destructive, molecular analysis to taxonomically identify Asian carp and other invasive fishes in icthyoplankton samples. These methods show promise in significantly reducing the time and accuracy of processing ichthyoplankton.

Monday January 25, 2016 4:00pm - 4:20pm EST