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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #344156

Research Project: Integrated Orchard Management and Automation for Deciduous Tree Fruit Crops

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

Title: Early detection of invasive exotic insect infestations using eDNA from crop surfaces

Author
item VALENTIN, RAFAEL - RUTGERS UNIVERSITY
item FONSECA, DINA - RUTGERS UNIVERSITY
item NIELSEN, ANNE - RUTGERS UNIVERSITY
item Leskey, Tracy
item LOCKWOOD, JULIE - RUTGERS UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/11/2017
Publication Date: 5/7/2018
Citation: Valentin, R., Fonseca, D.M., Nielsen, A.L., Leskey, T.C., Lockwood, J.L. 2018. Early detection of invasive exotic insect infestations using eDNA from crop surfaces. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 16(5):265-270. https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.1811.
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1002/fee.1811

Interpretive Summary: Rapid-response erradication of invasive species is critical to minimizing damage, but implementation of an eradication plan is often limited by the difficulty in detecting individuals in the environment when they are rare. In aquatic ecosystems, the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) has helped address this issue, but it has never been used for terrestrial species. Using a high-resolution real time PCR assay for the invasive brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), we developed an eDNA based surveillance protocol for a terrestrial ecosystem. We compared eDNA to conventional monitoring traps and documented significantly increased sensitivity and detection effectiveness for their presence or absence, though at this time, eDNA cannot be used to estimate relative densities of individuals as traps can. Our methodology is transferable to any terrestrial situation where target species’ DNA can be aggregated and sampled, suggesting eDNA can potentially transform our ability to respond to biosecurity threats across terrestrial ecosystems.

Technical Abstract: As the number of invasive exotic species has increased over recent decades, so too has the ecological harm and economic burdens they impose. Rapid-response eradication of nascent exotic populations is a proven viable approach to minimizing damage; however, implementation is limited by the difficulty in detecting individuals when rare. In aquatic ecosystems, the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) has helped address this issue; however, to our knowledge, eDNA has not been trialed for surveillance of terrestrial exotic species. Using a high-resolution real time PCR assay for the invasive brown marmorated stink bug (Halyomorpha halys), we developed an eDNA based surveillance protocol for a terrestrial ecosystem. We compare eDNA to conventional monitoring traps and documented significantly increased sensitivity and detection effectiveness. Our methodology is transferable to any terrestrial situation where target species’ DNA can be aggregated, suggesting eDNA can potentially transform our ability to respond to biosecurity threats across terrestrial ecosystems.