Fishing with environmental DNA (eDNA): identifying the spatio-temporal interactions between Atlantic Salmon (Salmo salar) and Striped Bass (Morone saxatilis) and the distribution of Small Mouth Bass (Micropterus dolomieu) in the Miramichi River catchment, New Brunswick.
Over the past decade the Miramichi Striped Bass population has experienced a marked increase (estimates ≈ 300,000). However, an important question remains, as yet, unanswered – what is the spatial extent of Striped Bass upstream movements throughout the Miramichi River network? Further, how does this spatial distribution vary through time, i.e. spring vs fall? In addition to Striped Bass, there have been social media reports of Small Mouth Bass being caught on the Main Southwest. With Atlantic Salmon being of such high socio-economic value throughout the region, there is concern surrounding the potential negative interactions between these species.
With these questions in mind, this project will utilise environmental DNA (eDNA) to answer the following – 1) what is the spatial distribution of Striped Bass in the Miramichi River?; 2) how do these movements differentiate temporally?; 3) how does the spatio-temporal distribution of Striped Bass overlay with those of Atlantic Salmon (kelts, smolt runs, juvenile habitat, etc.)?; and 4) are Small Mouth Bass present in the watershed outside of Miramichi Lake?