FAU Harbor Branch Scientists need your help. This is a great opportunity to contribute to cutting-edge fisheries research in our Indian River Lagoon. This Saturday, November 10th will be the first DNAngler event from 8:00 AM to 2:00 PM at Pepper Park Riverside in Fort Pierce.
DNAngler is a new “citizen science” project that relies on teamwork between the community and researchers from FAU Harbor Branch to inventory and monitor fish in the Indian River Lagoon.
To participate, citizen scientists will fish for at least one hour, fill out a data sheet and collect a water sample. Participants must bring their own fishing equipment but will be provided with a research materials kit. There will also be raffle prizes! Citizen scientist participants can RSVP for the event and reserve a kit by calling 772-242-2293. Read more below from FAU Harbor Branch about this exciting new project!
The importance of citizen science
Did you know scientists at FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute can detect the different types of fish that swam through an area just by analyzing a water sample?! Our goal is to learn more about the fish living in the Indian River Lagoon— but we need your help!
Citizen science allows participants to make a direct contribution to scientific research while learning more about the natural world and local environmental issues. These opportunities provide a unique way to bridge the gap between scientists and the community, while helping researchers to maximize the amount of data collected on a project. Partnering with FAU Harbor Branch can help us to learn more about the wildlife in our local waters.
What can we learn from eDNA?
As fish swim through the water, they leave behind waste products, mucous and other tiny cells that contain unique genetic material known as environmental DNA (eDNA). By filtering water samples and extracting eDNA, our scientists can determine if a species is present without physically capturing or seeing it! eDNA analysis is an innovative way for FAU Harbor Branch researchers to inventory and monitor fish in the Indian River Lagoon without the use of invasive techniques.
Cutting Edge Molecular Technology
Our scientists use a molecular method called eDNA metabarcoding to assess and group animals living within a complex ecosystem. eDNA metabarcoding works by targeting a unique DNA fragment, or “barcode,” in an animal’s genetic makeup that links it to a particular species. This cutting-edge technology can allow us to identify a multitude of animals, compare species composition among different water samples, and shed light on biodiversity throughout the Indian River Lagoon.
FAU Harbor Branch launched its first citizen science project, called DNAngler in July. The kick-off event for this program was hosted at Round Island Park on Saturday July 14th and it was a great success, generating 35 water samples from nearly 100 citizen scientists! Due to the complex and lengthy nature of eDNA processing, results for this project will be posted subsequently to being analyzed. Please stay attentive to the DNAnglers webpage for project updates and future events!