Environmental DNA sampling protocol - filtering water to capture DNA from aquatic organisms

Techniques and Methods 2-A13
Prepared in cooperation with Washington State University
By: , and 



Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is an effective method of determining the presence of aquatic organisms such as fish, amphibians, and other taxa. This publication is meant to guide researchers and managers in the collection, concentration, and preservation of eDNA samples from lentic and lotic systems. A sampling workflow diagram and three sampling protocols are included as well as a list of suggested supplies. Protocols include filter and pump assembly using: (1) a hand-driven vacuum pump, ideal for sample collection in remote sampling locations where no electricity is available and when equipment weight is a primary concern; (2) a peristaltic pump powered by a rechargeable battery-operated driver/drill, suitable for remote sampling locations when weight consideration is less of a concern; (3) a 120-volt alternating current (AC) powered peristaltic pump suitable for any location where 120-volt AC power is accessible, or for roadside sampling locations. Images and detailed descriptions are provided for each step in the sampling and preservation process.

Suggested Citation

Laramie, M.B., Pilliod, D.S., Goldberg, C.S., and Strickler, K.M., 2015, Environmental DNA sampling protocol—Filtering water to capture DNA from aquatic organisms: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 2, chap. A13, 15 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/tm2A13.

ISSN: 2328-7055 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Contamination Prevention
  • Selecting the Best Protocol for Your Sample Sites
  • Protocol #1: Manual, Hand-Driven Vacuum Pump
  • Protocol #2: Rechargeable Cordless Driver/Drill with Peristaltic Pump Head
  • Protocol #3: 120-V AC Motor with Peristaltic Pump Head
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
  • Appendix A. Suggested Supplies List for Environmental DNA Sampling
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Environmental DNA sampling protocol - filtering water to capture DNA from aquatic organisms
Series title Techniques and Methods
Series number 2-A13
DOI 10.3133/tm2A13
Year Published 2015
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description iv, 15 p.
Larger Work Type Report
Larger Work Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Larger Work Title Section A: Biological science in Book 2: Collection of Environmental Data
Public Comments This report is Chapter 13 of Section A: Biological science in Book 2 Collection of Environmental Data.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details