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eDNA Tool Detects Invasive Clams Before They Become a Nuisance

Early detection is the key to controlling or eliminating invasive species, and now a research team is using a new tool to do just that. The University of Illinois-led team of Rice University, University of Notre Dame, and University of Nevada at Reno used environmental DNA (eDNA) to detect invasive clams in California and Nevada lakes.

The team developed an eDNA assay to test for the presence of Corbicula, an invasive freshwater clam. Though small, the clams can have major effects on fresh water. They can clog pipes and damage infrastructure, similar to the impacts of zebra and quagga mussels in the Great Lakes region. Corbicula also affect water quality and contribute to the growth of nearshore algae.

NIFA supports this project through Hatch funding.

Want to read about more impacts like this? Check out Fresh from the Field, a weekly bulletin showcasing transformative impacts made by grantees funded by NIFA.

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