Developing a robust technique to detect populations of endangered native white-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes, invasive signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus and crayfish plague Aphanomyces astaci in lotic systems using innovative eDNA approaches.
eDNA sampling was carried out on known populations of white-clawed crayfish Austropotamobius pallipes and invasive signal crayfish Pacifastacus leniusculus using different sampling techniques. A strategy was devised and used to locate populations of white-clawed and signal crayfish in the Upper Dove. The technique was also extended to other areas including donor and ark sites. Evidence of the presence of target crayfish species by the current assay was found to be consistent with information obtained by non-eDNA methods. Crayfish plague was also screened for at the same time as the crayfish species. Crayfish plague detection needs further consideration. The project helped to develop a robust eDNA technique to sample crayfish in the lotic environment and was able to provide evidence to locate remnant native crayfish populations in the Upper Dove.