Comparing the efficiency of open and enclosed filtration systems in environmental DNA quantification for fish and jellyfish
Water sampling and filtration of environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis have been performed by several different methods, and each method may yield a different species composition or eDNA concentration. Here, we investigated the eDNA of seawater samples directly collected by SCUBA to compare two widely used filtration methods: open filtration with a glass filter (GF/F) and enclosed filtration (Sterivex). We referred to biomass based on visual observation data collected simultaneously to clarify the difference between organism groups. Water samples were collected at two points in the Sea of Japan in May, September and December 2018. The respective samples were filtered through GF/F and Sterivex for eDNA extraction. We quantified the eDNA concentration of five fish and two cnidarian species by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) using species-specific primers/probe sets. A strong correlation of eDNA concentration was obtained between GF/F and Sterivex; the intercepts and slopes of the linear regression lines were slightly different in fish and jellyfish. The amount of eDNA detected using the GF/F filtration method was higher than that detected using Sterivex when the eDNA concentration was high; the opposite trend was observed when the eDNA concentration was relatively low. The concentration of eDNA correlated with visually estimated biomass; eDNA concentration per biomass in jellyfish was approximately 700 times greater than that in fish. We conclude that GF/F provides an advantage in collecting a large amount of eDNA, whereas Sterivex offers superior eDNA sensitivity. Both filtration methods are effective in estimating the spatiotemporal biomass size of target marine species.