Despite setbacks due to COVID19, our new collaborative project studying communities in the Lower Hudson-Raritan Estuary has launched. The goal of the project is to better understand what factors drive variation in this urban estuarine community and what methods best assess variation. Dr. Keith Dunton and Dr. Jason Adolf, along with their students, have started cruises to collect data on fish and phytoplankton. They will also be collecting physical data like salinity and dissolved oxygen.
Our lab will be adding to the project by using a different method to assess communities–eDNA. eDNA is environmental DNA left behind by organisms. We will extract eDNA from water samples taken on the cruises and using next generation sequencing to help sift through the DNA and identify organisms that are part of the community. Students Cameron Gaines and Lilia Crew will be working on this project this semester. You can read more about the project here.