My research uses both multi-species eDNA metabarcoding and species-specific quantitative PCR approaches to investigate elasmobranch diversity in the Chagos Archipelago Marine Protected Area.
The study of eDNA is a non-invasive and rapid method for the assessment of the presence and distribution of marine species through the extraction and sequencing of genetic material present in water samples. Because of its non-invasive nature, species do not need to be observed or captured in order for their presence to be recorded, making the technique ideal for the study of elusive and cryptic species such as sharks and rays.
I will be assessing the applicability of eDNA methods for monitoring reef sharks in the MPA, comparing results against more established monitoring methods such as diver surveys and telemetry.
The ability to detect species from water samples has the potential to revolutionise marine monitoring, particularly for rare and elusive species like sharks and rays. I hope that the research I do will help conserve these incredible species that are so important for the health of our oceans
Species Distribution and EcologyThe Importance of the Chagos Archipelago for Pelagic Predators in the Indian Ocean