A team of Lakes380 team researchers led by Konstanze Steiner have developed a new DNA-based tool to assist with detecting and monitoring kākahi (freshwater mussel) in lakes and rivers.
There are three species of kākahi (freshwater mussel) found in lakes and rivers in Aotearoa-New Zealand. As filter-feeders, they play a crucial role in freshwater ecosystems and have high cultural importance.
The new DNA-based method allows us to detect and distinguish these species in water and sediment samples. It will provide new data to complement the traditional approaches to monitoring which have included dive surveys. While dive surveys are extremely valuable, they are time consuming and expensive meaning we can’t monitor as many waterbodies as we need to. The new DNA tool has already proved to be a very valuable method for large scale screening, and the team is now applying the method to sediment core samples to track historical populations.
You can read the publication for free here.