Learn about PhD project of Dayanitha Damodaran, investigating the habitat requirements of the endemic, green-lipped mussel. Her work will help in designing eco-engineered artificial structures that will encourage settlement of this culturally and economically valued species.
Environmental DNA (eDNA) in combination with metabarcoding or real time PCR are promising approaches for marine non-indigenous species (NIS) detection. To maximize detection of rare biodiversity, plankton vertical or horizontal net tows are often used to concentrate eDNA signals over hundreds of liters of volume. The follow-up filtration step of the concentrated sample often becomes a bottleneck in the sample processing pipeline, requiring substantial time and effort. These sample collection and processing steps need to be optimized without affecting the performance of eDNA-based detection for wider end-user uptake and routine implementation for biosecurity surveillance.
In February 2020, our postdoc Ulla von Ammon embarked on the Robert C. Seamans (Picture 1) sailing ship as part of the SEA expedition organized by the Woods Hole Institute to collect seawater samples using different sampling approaches.