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The Science of Nature

, 105:62 | Cite as

Monitoring seasonal distribution of an endangered anadromous sturgeon in a large river using environmental DNA

  • Nian Xu
  • Bin Zhu
  • Fang Shi
  • Ke Shao
  • Yanfu Que
  • Weitao Li
  • Wei Li
  • Wenjing Jiao
  • Hua Tian
  • Dongmei Xu
  • Jianbo ChangEmail author
Short Communication
  • 306 Downloads

Abstract

Monitoring dynamic distribution is crucial to conservation management of anadromous sturgeons, but traditional survey methods are less efficient for low-density populations in a large river. Natural propagation of Chinese sturgeon has been monitored annually mainly at the spawning ground using netting for eggs and hydroacoustics for broodstock. However, absence of spawning was observed sporadically in recent years, indicating further crises for the declining population. We analyzed eDNA of water samples collected from 24 sites across 1360 km of the migratory route of anadromous Chinese sturgeon in the middle and lower reaches of the Yangtze River. Chinese sturgeon was detected at 9 sites during the spawning season and 14 sites after the spawning season. We found that positive eDNA detection rates remained constant in the middle reaches but dramatically changed in the lower reaches, reflecting seasonal migration pattern of Chinese sturgeon. Invasive sturgeons were detected in the river, indicating their possible escape from aquaculture facilities. This study established a protocol for the use of eDNA to monitor distribution of Chinese sturgeon and could be valuable in making better policies for the conservation of this endangered species.

Keywords

eDNA Chinese sturgeon Yangtze River Species detection Spawning migration Conservation program 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to the staff of Hydrology Bureau of Changjiang Water Resources Commission for their help in sampling. We thank Shan Yan for assistance in laboratory. We also thank Professor Guoqing Lu for revision suggestions.

Funding information

The work was supported by research grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51609158) and China Three Gorges Corporation (SXSN/3735).

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nian Xu
    • 1
  • Bin Zhu
    • 1
  • Fang Shi
    • 1
  • Ke Shao
    • 1
  • Yanfu Que
    • 1
  • Weitao Li
    • 1
  • Wei Li
    • 1
  • Wenjing Jiao
    • 1
  • Hua Tian
    • 1
  • Dongmei Xu
    • 1
  • Jianbo Chang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Ecological Impacts of Hydraulic-Projects and Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystem of Ministry of Water ResourcesInstitute of Hydroecology, Ministry of Water Resources and Chinese Academy of SciencesWuhanChina
  2. 2.Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Ecology, School of Water Resources and Hydropower EngineeringWuhan UniversityWuhanChina

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