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…

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…

Casuarina Planting at Gazi Primary School

Originally posted on Gazi Mangrove Project:
Yesterday, 193 students at Gazi Primary School participated in planting nearly 300 Casuarina seedlings on school grounds.  These seedlings will supplement the 3,000 trees recently planted as part of the Gazi Mangrove Project. The students learned that Casuarina trees are hard wood trees that can be used as a…

Mikoko Pamoja

We have had fascinating talks about the management of mangrove ecosystems and learnt all about PES (payment for ecosystem services) this week. Here in Gazi Bay, South Kenya, the two villages (Gazi and Makongeni) conserve the local mangroves by replanting new seedlings and protecting the existing forest in a project called Mikoko Pamoja, loosely translated…

WIO Mangrove Training

Today the two week course in Western Indian Ocean (WIO) mangroves started! We have had some fascinating talks already about mangrove distribution and services, threats to mangroves and then the general biology, ecology and phenology of mangroves. Somebody mentioned evolution of mangrove trees… I’m excited to read up on this later because there are visible…