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

Read all about our work in South Africa in this great post from the “Leading Women in Marine Science” blog series by Hannah Rudd!

Leading Women in Marine Science

Molly Czachur 3Molly 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 for a BSc Joint Honours in Marine Biology and Zoology. Molly graduated from Bangor with an MSci Master of Marine Biology with International Experience. She has worked on various marine systems and organisms, from the effects of bioacidification on shark development (Manchester), gene expression (Germany) and echinoculture (Bangor) to mangrove biodiversity (Kenya).


Briefly describe your current work and your research.

I am researching the biodiversity of fishes across the South African coastline. Interestingly, these fishes (and all organisms) shed DNA into the environment as they move and exist in their habitat, and the DNA that they shed can come from…

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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, …