Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

Working with the K’ómoks Nation towards Q’waq’wala7owkw on their unceded territory.

New eDNA Research

T. Jacobson preparing samples for eDNA analysis ~ V. East

eDNA bags ~ V. East

We have an exciting research announcement to share with you! Our own Jennifer Sutherst along with 5 other scientists have recently published an article in the Ecological Indicators scientific journal.

The article explains how they have developed and validated two assays for environmental DNA (eDNA) and that eDNA sampling is an effective method to detect Pacific sand lance and surf smelt, two local forage fish species, from small sand samples. This is a valuable finding as extensive visual surveys for eggs using large sand samples has been the technique used historically. In addition, visual survey methods only identify the location of eggs and does not assess other intertidal habitat use whereas eDNA sampling can reveal this important information. 

Project Watershed has been using eDNA as part of our forage fish sampling since 2019. eDNA is found on beaches and includes fish scales, mucus, and fecal matter. It is a “sterile” sample, meaning best efforts were made to collect sand samples where there was limited disturbance from humans and animals along the 30m sampling transect. Sampling is done at the high tide line of beaches.

eDNA sampling paired with the field methods of collecting a 4L bulk sample, sieving and vortexing the sample, and using a microscope for identification can further verify the habitat that Pacific sand lance and surf smelt are using as well as their timing windows for spawning.

They also found that in eDNA samples where surf smelt was detected, there may be overlapping substrate use between Pacific sand lance and surf smelt. This means that both species may be facing similar habitat conservation concerns.

Do you want to help us find forage fish eggs on beaches around the Comox Valley? Searching for forage fish eggs involves beach surveys and microscope work. You can sign up for both volunteer opportunities or focus on one of the two.

Related Posts

Kus-kus-sum Site History

Pre-European Contact there was a First Nation village located roughly where the present-day Courtenay Airpark is now. The village was called Kus-kus-sum and is the namesake for the present day Kus-kus-sum site. The term Kus-sum means slippery and Kus-kus-sum, means...

Forage Fish Surveying Summary

Wow 40 plus amazing, citizen scientists supported the forage fish project this season. They covered almost 30 beaches between Hornby Island, the Comox Valley, Campbell River, and Cortes Island.

Kus-kus-sum Project History

Below is an interactive timeline of the events regarding the gensis of Project Watershed's Kus-kus-sum Project. Hover over each salmon icon to learn more about what happened that year.Related Posts

Citizen Science Seal Monitoring for Kus-kus-sum

Your contribution is greatly appreciated, thank you for participating!Make a donation to celebrate a special someone and they receive a gift card.Welcome to our pinniped observation guide and data submission page! "Pinniped" is a Latin word meaning "fin-footed," and...

Kus-kus-sum Underwater

We got a first look at how a restored Kus-kus-sum will operate during storms and king tides this winter. It was exciting to see the high tides move over the steel wall and inundate the site.