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Work continues in the fight against carp using the latest scientific knowledge

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Dr. Elise Furlan examining water samples collected from past carp habitat in Lake Crescent

Dr. Elise Furlan, a Postdoctoral Research Fellow from the University of Canberra recently returned to Tasmania, to continue her work in environmental DNA detection.

Supported by the extensive data and knowledge of the Tasmanian Carp Management Program, the team led Dr. Furlan to known carp locations in Lake Sorell and past carp sites in Lake Crescent.

Water samples were taken daily at various sites around both lakes, which were then filtered to trap DNA on the filter paper. This work will highlight how many water samples must be taken before a conclusion can be made that carp are present or absent in a waterway.

Both lakes were ideal for these trials due to their large sizes and isolation.  There are no carp sites in Lake Crescent so it was obviously used as a control.  Lake Sorell was suitable for the eDNA trials as it is a contained system where no introduction or emigration of carp occurs, which means an accurate estimate of density is possible. The low density of carp in a comparatively large water body is also a unique situation, and is good test of eDNA sensitivity. Dr. Furlan has conducted trials in detection sensitivity in mainland carp populations, but these areas all had high densities of carp.

If successful, this technique would be useful for confirming the presence of carp and other species in suspected waters while populations are small, as well as being a complementary technique for confirming the eradication of species from waters.

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