Environmental DNA for fish biodiversity monitoring

Finding Fish By Molly Czachur Marine biodiversity is a rich and colourful display of what the natural world has to offer. Whilst large whale sharks are gliding through the oceans, the nearby coastal mangrove forests are acting as a vital nursery ground that is teeming with the microscopic larvae of future fish generations. The closer…

Young Science Communicator Winner

I am pleased to announce that I have won the ‘open’ category for Young Science Communicator of 2018 with NRF-SAASTA! My entry below, named “Finding fish“, illustrates our environmental DNA research through cartoon! This exciting work is being carried out in the von der Heyden lab at Stellenbosch University, South Africa, in collaboration with the Molecular Ecology…

Molly Czachur: Leading Women in Marine Science

Originally posted on Hannah Rudd:
Molly Czachur is working towards her PhD in Zoology at Stellenbosch University, South Africa. She is describing coastal fish biodiversity using an environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding approach. Molly’s journey into Marine Biology started at the University of Manchester where she began her BSc in Zoology, before transferring to Bangor University…

Be the plastic pollution solution

Coastal vegetation is trapping huge amounts of waste, so it’s time for us to take the next step and clean up our beaches! Be a part of the plastic pollution solution today by enjoying your beaches responsibly. Today, the von der Heyden lab visited Kogel Bay in the Western Cape, South Africa. This is a…

Exciting new tool for marine conservation: environmental DNA

Fish and other aquatic animals shed DNA into the surrounding water. This means that seawater is filled with the DNA of the animals living there, and this is known as environmental DNA (eDNA). Scientists have used environmental DNA to study a range of animals, from earlier eDNA studies in 2008 (e.g. on the invasive American Bullfrog),…

Feeling creative on #internationalmuseumday

I have been constantly inspired by working at museums… and today on International Museum Day 2017 I’d like to share a video I created whilst working at Manchester Museum a couple of years ago. I was working on a collection of crustaceans, but had the opportunity to explore so many other uses of the museum. One rainy…

Celebrating #worldelephantday

It’s world elephant day today, and I’ve just returned from Tsavo East national park, Kenya. This park is home to the largest group of elephants in Kenya, with over 12,500 individuals, representing around one third of all elephants in the country. It was breathtaking to see these animals. We saw them at the watering hole,…

Celebrating #MangroveActionDay with @MangroveProject

Here’s one of my photo entries for the MAP mangrove photo competition! This photo was taken at the Mikoko Pamoja book launch, where Mikoko Pamoja carbon funds earnt by the community were spent on boosting local education. You can enter the photography competition too by clicking here. Mangroves are community Mangroves are capable of storing…

How does mangrove carbon offset work?

  Coastal livelihood and mangroves Coastal villages often heavily rely on fishing for livelihood, and also often have houses and buildings close to the shore. Areas of coast with mangrove forests benefit from the mangroves supporting large fisheries, and also protecting the shoreline from erosion and sedimentation. Although these benefits are significant to the local…

Measuring tree DBH with #mikokopamoja

Hundreds of Casaurina trees were planted in the villages of Gazi and Makongeni to provide an alternative livelihood for local people. These trees are fast growing and straight, ideal qualities for producing wood construction poles. This wood is hopefully going to provide enough income to reduce local harvesting of mangrove trees, which are often cut…