Quantification of eel population density through eDNA

Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
The European Atlantic eel Anguilla anguilla populations are declining. This catadromous species uses freshwater habitat for growing until migration to the marine spawning grounds. The species is suffering problems in both marine and freshwater life stages, from marine pollution to drastic reduction of freshwater habitat -due in part to river damming. Still fished in many countries, determining its abundance in marine, estuarine and freshwater habitats would contribute greatly to set sustainable quotas. In this Master Thesis project the student will assay environmental DNA-based methodologies to inventory European eel population densities from different aquatic environments: marine, brackish, freshwater. The laboratory has experience with species-specific eDNA markers and has worked on Anguilla anguilla populations of Bay of Biscay (examples below). Clusa L, Ardura A, Gower F, Miralles L, Tsartsianidou V, Zaiko A, Garcia-Vazquez E. An easy phylogenetically informative method to trace the globally invasive Potamopyrgus mud snail from river’s eDNA. PLoS ONE 11(10): e0162899 (2016) Devloo-Delva F, Miralles L, Ardura A, Borrell YJ, Pejovic I, Tsartsianidou V, Garcia-Vazquez E. Detection and characterisation of the biopollutant Xenostrobus securis (Lamarck 1819) Asturian population from DNA Barcoding and eBarcoding. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 105: 23-29 (2016) Linde AR, Sanchez-Galan S, Garcia-Vazquez E. Heavy metal contamination of European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and brown trout (Salmo trutta) caught in wild ecosystems in Spain. Journal of Food Protection, 67, 2332-2336 (2004)
Basic experience in molecular biology
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Other people involved: 
Dr. Gonzalo Machado-Schiaffino, gonzamachado@yahoo.com
Reference Number: RP-47461