Strategic considerations for invasive species managers in the utilization of environmental DNA (eDNA): steps for incorporating this powerful surveillance tool.
Invasive species surveillance programs can utilize environmental DNA sampling and analysis to provide information on the presence of invasive species. Wider utilization of eDNA techniques for invasive species surveillance may be warranted. This paper covers topics directed towards invasive species managers and eDNA practitioners working at the intersection of eDNA techniques and invasive species surveillance. It provides background information on the utility of eDNA for invasive species management and points to various examples of its use across federal and international programs. It provides information on (1) why an invasive species manager should consider using eDNA, (2) deciding if eDNA can help with the manager's surveillance needs, (3) important components to operational implementation, and (4) a high-level overview of the technical steps necessary for eDNA analysis. The goal of this paper is to assist invasive species managers in deciding if, when, and how to use eDNA for surveillance. If eDNA use is elected, the paper provides guidance on steps to ensure a clear understanding of the strengths and limitation of the methods and how results can be best utilized in the context of invasive species surveillance.