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Wednesday, January 27 • 11:00am - 11:20am
Grass Carp Reproduction In A Reservoir Basin: Implications For Range Expansions and Establishment of Asian Carps In Novel Habitats

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AUTHORS: Cari-Ann Hayer*, U.S. Geological Survey; Michael F Bayless, Missouri Department of Conservation; Curt G Byrd, U.S. Geological Survey; Amy E George, U.S. Geological Survey; Nathan Thompson, U.S. Geological Survey; Catherine A. Richter, U.S. Geological Survey; Duane C Chapman, U.S. Geological Survey

ABSTRACT: In Truman Reservoir, Missouri, grass carp are captured regularly by bowfishers, and there have been unconfirmed reports of invasive silver carp, although none have been captured. Fertile diploid grass carp are used legally for vegetation control in Missouri ponds; therefore it was unclear if grass carp in Truman Reservoir were the result of natural reproduction or escapees from ponds within the Truman Reservoir basin. We used ichthyoplankton tows and environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis of water samples to investigate Asian carp (i.e., bighead, grass and silver carp) spawning in Truman reservoir. Asian carp eggs, representing many stages of development, were collected from 4 of the 5 tributaries sampled during a 4-day span in early June 2014. Egg presence coincided with a rising hydrograph and elevated grass carp eDNA. Grass carp eggs were verified by quantitative PCR and a subset was further confirmed by DNA sequencing. No silver carp eDNA was detected and no tested eggs were determined to be silver carp. Grass carp eDNA was detected in all tributaries, but only on one sampling occasion in the tributary where no eggs were detected, and eDNA quantity was lower in this tributary than in the other tributaries. This represents only the second documentation of grass carp reproduction occurring in a North American reservoir system. Two of the tributaries are among the smallest rivers, in terms of mean discharge, worldwide in which Asian carp spawning has been detected. Grass carp spawning requirements are similar to those of bighead and silver carp; thus, there is a risk that these fishes could also establish in reservoir systems. The small size of the tributaries supporting spawning has broad implications regarding assessment of the risk of Asian carp establishment elsewhere in North America (e.g., novel habitats), including the Great Lakes.

Wednesday January 27, 2016 11:00am - 11:20am EST