Present address: Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionnelle et Evolutive (UMR 5175), Ecole Pratique des Hautes Etudes, Biogéographie et Ecologie des Vertébrés, campus CNRS, 1919 route de Mende, 34 293 Montpellier cedex 5, France.
Improved detection of an alien invasive species through environmental DNA barcoding: the example of the American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus
Article first published online: 5 JUL 2012
© 2012 The Authors. Journal of Applied Ecology © 2012 British Ecological Society
Journal of Applied Ecology
Volume 49, Issue 4, pages 953–959, August 2012
How to Cite
Dejean, T., Valentini, A., Miquel, C., Taberlet, P., Bellemain, E. and Miaud, C. (2012), Improved detection of an alien invasive species through environmental DNA barcoding: the example of the American bullfrog Lithobates catesbeianus. Journal of Applied Ecology, 49: 953–959. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2012.02171.x
- Issue published online: 17 JUL 2012
- Article first published online: 5 JUL 2012
- Received 4 January 2012; accepted 7 June 2012 Handling Editor: Chris Frid
- alien invasive species;
- DNA barcoding;
- environmental DNA;
- Lithobates catesbeianus;
- species detection
1. Alien invasive species (AIS) are one of the major causes of biodiversity loss and global homogenization. Once an AIS becomes established, costs of control can be extremely high and complete eradication is not always achieved. The ability to detect a species at a low density greatly improves the success of eradication and decreases both the costs of control and the impact on ecosystems.
2. In this study, we compare the sensitivity of traditional field methods, based on auditory and visual encounter surveys, with an environmental DNA (eDNA) survey for the detection of the American bullfrog Rana catesbeiana = Lithobates catesbeianus, which is invasive in south-western France.
3. We demonstrate that the eDNA method is valuable for species detection and surpasses traditional amphibian survey methods in terms of sensitivity and sampling effort. The bullfrog was detected in 38 sites using the molecular method, compared with seven sites using the diurnal and nocturnal surveys, suggesting that traditional field surveys have strongly underestimated the distribution of the American bullfrog.
4. Synthesis and applications. The environmental DNA approach permits the early detection of alien invasive species (AIS), at very low densities and at any life stage, which is particularly important for the detection of rare and/or secretive aquatic species. This method can also be used to confirm the sensitivity of control operations and to better identify the distributions of vulnerable species, making this a very relevant tool for species inventory and management.