Twin Ports Freshwater Folk: Finding Invaders in the Watery Haystack

How We Can Use Environmental DNA To Detect and Monitor Aquatic Invasive Species

Time, location and registration

  • Wednesday, April 5, 2023, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT.
  • This meeting will be held virtually.
  • Registration required.

Event schedule

  • 11:30 a.m. Meet-and-greet breakout sessions
  • 12:00 p.m. Announcements by attendees
  • 12:05 p.m. Seminar(s)
  • 12:45 p.m. Moderated question and answer
  • 1:00 p.m. Adjourn


Guest speaker Stephen Spear will talk about using environmental DNA (eDNA) to track invasive species.

Environmental DNA, or eDNA, is detecting a species' presence by isolating and identifying its DNA from an environmental source such as soil or water. Within the past 15 years, eDNA has become an important method for surveying a variety of species, especially those that are difficult to locate through more traditional field methods. The use of eDNA has been pivotal for detecting harmful invasive species and tracking their spread to guide control efforts. New advancements are making it possible to deploy eDNA tests within an hour or to use automated collection platforms, unlocking the potential for eDNA to provide a more immediate response for detecting invasive species and their spread.


  • Stephen Spear, research biologist, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center, United States Geological Survey.

What is Twin Ports Freshwater Folk?

  • Minnesota Sea Grant's Twin Ports Freshwater Folk (TPFF) webinars are for people in the Twin Ports communities of Duluth, Minnesota and Superior, Wisconsin, and anyone engaged in freshwater research, policy, or management.
  • TPFF meetings are the first Wednesday of every month and include networking and informal discussion followed by a presentation(s) on a freshwater topic.
  • Subscribe to TPFF to receive updates.


  • Alex Frie, research and fellowship coordinator, Minnesota Sea Grant.

Image credit: Daniel Kelner