This assay targets fish, mammals, and amphibians, using a combination of genetic markers. A variety of bird species are often incidentally detected.
In the past, we have recovered species as diverse as fish, rodents, foxes, deer, songbirds, ducks, frogs, toads, newts, and even a bat.
With the exception of amphibians in the breeding season, non-fish vertebrates shed DNA less consistently than fish do. This means they are less certain to be detected, especially in running water, and non-detection should therefore not be interpreted as evidence of absence.
It is important to plan your sampling around the life history of your key target organisms. For instance, if amphibian data is important to you then you should sample during the spring when they are more consistently found in the water. If fish are your prime target, it’s best to sample during autumn and winter when your sample is less likely to be dominated by species that happen to have just released all their eggs into the water.