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Leveraging citizen science to map lamprey distributions in Oregon using eDNA methods

There are at least two native species of lamprey living in Oregon's coastal watersheds, yet very little information is known about their distributions and population size. Obtaining distribution and population-status information can be labor intensive (e.g., electrofishing, redd counts) and distinguishing adult Brook Lamprey and Pacific Lamprey ammocetes requires specialized expertise. These constraints, paired with a lack of prior management interest in lamprey population status has meant that lamprey data collection is often ancillary to other studies (e.g., salmonids). Environmental DNA (eDNA) is one technique that can help us obtain species specific lamprey data to aid in the development of accurate fish distribution maps. Environmental DNA techniques also lend themselves to the use of volunteer networks to collect the necessary samples, since volunteers do not need to be experts in identification of juvenile lamprey. This project is developing a network of citizen scientists and testing several techniques for obtaining eDNA samples in targeted areas within the Coos watershed.

Project URL:

Geographic Scope: Tributaries of the Coos, Coquille, Umpqua, Siuslaw, Alsea, and Yaquina River watersheds, including streams within and downstream of the Siuslaw and Siskiyou National Forests. Corvallis, OR.

Project Status: Active - recruiting volunteers

Participation Tasks: Data analysis, Data entry, Finding entities, Geolocation, Identification, Learning, Measurement, Observation, Sample analysis, Specimen/sample collection,

Start Date: 05/01/2019

Project Contact:

Federal Government Sponsor:

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Other Federal Government Sponsor:

Fields of Science: Animals, Ecology and environment, Nature and outdoors, Ocean/water and marine

Intended Outcomes: 1) Updated lamprey distribution maps that allow for the clear designation of the presence of different species of native lamprey will forestall inadvertent instream work that could compromise occupied existing habitats. Because lamprey use fine-grained sandy substrate, they may be found in places that could be targeted for restoration intended to enhance habitat for salmonids. 2) Presentations and analysis from this study could reveal ways that restoration for salmonids could also benefit lamprey. This work also supports the Bureau of Land Management, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the Coos Watershed Association because it will help them prioritize areas for restoration and will fill data gaps that presently exist regarding Lamprey species in the Pacific Northwest. 2) Beyond databases maintained by the Siuslaw National Forest, data collected and analyzed on NFS land will be entered into the AqS-Biota database within NRM. Data files and management will also be conducted by the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve and will be archived at the PNW Research Station of the USDA Forest Service.