Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Matthew L. Niemiller
Crayfish--Alabama--Marshall County--Identification., Crayfish--Alabama--Morgan County--Identification., Cambarus--Alabama--Marshall County--Identification., Cambarus--Alabama--Morgan County--Identification., Ecological assessment (Biology), DNA--Analysis.
Cave-dwelling species live in habitats that are hard to access and study. They often are small, elusive to capture, and possess morphological characters that make them difficult to identify without collection and dissection. Environmental DNA (eDNA) offers a nondestructive, noninvasive, and potentially cost-effective way to monitor and detect these species. I investigated the use of eDNA to detect two troglobitic crayfishes Cambarus speleocoopi in Marshall County and Cambarus laconensis in Morgan County, Alabama. I developed and tested in silico and in vivo primer-probe quantitative PCR assays for both species, then screened water samples collected from caves and springs in northern Alabama. Cambarus speleocoopi was detected at six sites, including three historical sites, whereas C. laconensis was not detected at any sites, including the type locality. This study demonstrates the effectiveness of using eDNA for detection of cave-dwelling species while also highlighting issues that can occur using this approach.
Boyd, Spencer, "Development of an environmental DNA assay for detection and monitoring of the troglobitic crayfishes Cambarus speleocoopi and Cambarus laconensis" (2019). Theses. 279.