Identification of species of birds is fundamental to implementation of all management and mitigation issues involving bird–aircraft collisions (bird strikes). Methods of identifying bird remains have recently been enhanced to include the use of molecular techniques but the degraded condition of the fi eld sample remains problematic. The Whatman FTA® card is a novel way to instantly fi x DNA and inhibit degradation of DNA samples post-collection. During 2008–2009, we analyzed >200 FTA cards containing tissue blots, body fluids, or blood samples from bird strikes to evaluate the performance of these cards in real-time situations. We analyzed the success of extracting DNA from the FTA cards, compared the FTA disc punch extractions to dried tissue extractions from the same birdstrike event, and evaluated the blotting density (heavy versus light) for each FTA card punch. FTA cards alone yielded successful extractions in 63% of the trials whereas dried tissue samples were successful 75% of the time. FTA cards that were scored as being blotted with dense (heavy) samples were more successful (63%) than the light or liquid samples (48%). We encourage the use of the FTA cards or similar products as a valid option for the collection of degraded birdstrike remains because the FTA cards resulted in successful extractions in >50% of the cases. The cards are ideal for shipping and require no special storage; the cards are dry and lightweight; immediate fixation of the sample helps prevent mold and bacterial growth; and FTA cards are listed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) as an approved method of treatment for foreign shipments of bird remains.
Dove, Carla J.; Dahlan, Nor Faridah; Heacker, Marcy A.; and Whatton, James F.
"Using Whatman FTA® Cards to Collect DNA for Bird-Strike Identifications,"
Human–Wildlife Interactions: Vol. 5
, Article 10.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.usu.edu/hwi/vol5/iss2/10