Kammen leads eDNA study to enhance river herring recovery research in Penobscot River

University of Maine researchers are seeking to gain more insight into river herring recovery in the Penobscot River using a novel surveying tool: environmental DNA (eDNA).

eDNA is the genetic material shed by all organisms in the environment, which can be collected and sequenced. By testing its viability as a survey tool, UMaine researchers and their colleagues hope eDNA can be an asset to managers of Maine’s natural resources.

Led by principal investigator Kristina Cammen, an associate professor of marine mammal science and Mitchell Center Faculty Fellow, and Ph.D. candidate Julia Sunnarborg, researchers partnered with the Maine Department of Marine Resources (DMR), Maine Sea Grant and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to expand our understanding of river herring recovery and broader ecosystem dynamics in the Penobscot River estuary.

Cammen is excited to test the potential of eDNA for ecosystem monitoring in a highly dynamic system.

“eDNA is a new technology that has the potential to be an incredibly powerful tool,” she said. “In the Penobscot River Estuary, where the ocean and river meet, eDNA may be able to help measure aspects of ecosystem recovery that are more challenging to assess using traditional methods.”

Excerpted from a UMaine News article