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Predicting downstream transport distance of fish eDNA in lotic environments
  • Didier Pont
Didier Pont
University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Environmental DNA is an effective tool for describing fish biodiversity in lotic environments, but the downstream transport of eDNA released by organisms makes it difficult to interpret species detection at the local scale. In addition to biophysical degradation and exchanges at the water-sediment interface, hydrological conditions control the transport distance. We have developed an eDNA transport model that considers downstream retention and degradation processes in combination with hydraulic conditions and assumes that the sedimentation rate of very fine particles is a correct estimate of the eDNA deposition rate. Based on meta-analyses of available studies, we successively modelled the particle size distribution of fish eDNA (PSD), the relationship between the sedimentation rate and the size of very fine particles in suspension, and the influence of temperature on the degradation rate of fish eDNA. After combining the results in a mechanistic-based model, we correctly simulated the eDNA uptake distances observed in a compilation of previous experimental studies. eDNA degradation is negligible at low flow and temperature but has a comparable influence to background transfer when hydraulic conditions allow a long uptake distance. The wide prediction intervals associated with the simulations reflect the complexity of the processes acting on eDNA after shedding. This model can be useful for estimating eDNA detection distance downstream from a source point and discussing the possibility of false positive detection in eDNA samples, as shown in an example.
31 Jul 2023Submitted to Molecular Ecology Resources
02 Aug 2023Submission Checks Completed
02 Aug 2023Assigned to Editor
02 Aug 2023Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Aug 2023Reviewer(s) Assigned
10 Nov 2023Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
26 Jan 2024Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
26 Jan 2024Editorial Decision: Accept