• EQO

Critical Early-Stage Detection: EQO Aquatic Invasive Species Decision Tree

Updated: Jan 26

The critical need for eRNA data to supplement eDNA for effective water resource management

EQO, Environmental Quality Operations, AIS, Zebra Mussels
Zebra Mussels Infestation

Aquatic Invasive Species are destroying the ecological integrity of our surface water supply, costing billions of dollars to the economy and doing immeasurable harm to our aquatic ecosystems.


State agencies currently respond to Invasive species data with inconsistent methodologies.


The inter-agency eDNA working group including representatives from USGS, US-BoR, USFWS, and multiple state DNRs, was created to educate water resource managers and establish best practices for response to data.


This work led to the publication of Sepulveda AJ et al. (2020) Are environmental DNA methods ready for aquatic invasive species management? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 35(8): 668-678, which includes a decision tree for how to best respond to eDNA data.

Based on this work and in conjunction with interagency panel partners, EQO expanded the decision tree to include critical eRNA data.


The use of eRNA, in addition to eDNA, allows EQO to analyze the entire lifecycle of invasive species, estimate population density, and provide actionable data to customer up to 2 years before infestation, such as:

  • Are they about to spawn?

  • How widespread is the infestation?

  • Is it treatable?

  • Is treatment working?

  • Is it alive or dead?

This technology bridges the gap between eDNA detection and physical capture detection, removes the risk of perceived false positives, and empowers users.


John Higley, CEO of EQO is a science advisor to the interagency working group on eDNA, which includes representatives from USGS, US-BoR, USFWS, and multiple state DNRs.


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