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Assessing biodiversity in Biscayne Bay using environmental DNA (eDNA)

This project, funded by the Herbert W. Hoover foundation, aims to assess biodiversity and community composition exploring environmental DNA (eDNA) isolated from Biscayne Bay. This effort is being led by Dr. Kelcie Chiquillo and myself (research PIs) and Dr. Jose Eirin-Lopez (managing PI). 


The Problem

Biscayne Bay, located in southeastern coast of Florida, is home to diverse ecosystems including mangrove shorelines, seagrass beds, and coral reefs. The Biscayne Bay watershed is also an important resource for South Floridians. Unfortunately, the area is also subject to urbanization, pollution, and other environmental disruptions. Many solutions are being implemented and explored, however, with the goal of creating a healthier and more resilient Biscayne Bay.


The Approach

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a non-invasive genetic technique that assesses community composition and biodiversity using DNA found in the environment. This approach is particularly useful in waters with low visibility that can make traditional visual surveys challenging. We are analyzing DNA that we isolated from seawater collected across multiple sites within Biscayne Bay. We aim to identify the diversity of vertebrates within these sites, which may include invasive or endangered species.

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