On the Spot

Have you ever heard of Environmental DNA?

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Photo by Paul Steeves

As technology progresses we can take samples of water and test the microscopic bits of DNA floating in the sample to see if a particular animal (or plant, or other organism) is present in the system. This is called environmental DNA or eDNA. It allows us to have a better understanding of what might be present in a system without physically observing an organism. This technology is especially important for elusive and hard to spot species that are easy to miss on visual surveys.

Over the last few years Precious Frog has been collecting and testing water samples. We are trying to see if we can find Oregon Spotted Frogs in areas that have historically had established populations. We also sample areas that look like they have really good habitat but no recorded sightings of the frogs. This helps maximize our efficiency when searching for new populations.

As part of this study we have to go back to the sites that test positive for Oregon Spotted Frog DNA to see if we can physically locate any frogs. Over the last few weeks our staff, technicians, and volunteers have been diligently searching for frogs and egg masses at our eDNA sites across the Fraser Valley. While we haven’t found any new frogs yet, we have had a lot of fun out in the rain. While trapping for OSF has finished, we will continue to look for egg masses for a few more weeks. When we conduct surveys for Oregon Spotted Frogs we also collect information on other amphibians. This allows us to maximize our efficiency and monitor other sensitive species.