Lesson plan for eDNA outreach

Would you like to teach school students about eDNA metabarcoding in a way that goes beyond the usual explanation of just "what is eDNA"? Check out my lesson plan and activity below for a 2-hour session that works great with high school learners. I was interested in teaching 16-year-old students about eDNA sampling, eDNA extractions, …

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 …

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), …

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, …

Shimba hills nature reserve

It was an early morning to begin our safari day, and I always enjoy watching the moon fade as the sky goes from starry black to blue. The stars here are incredibly bright and in the daytime the sky is so, so blue that I could stare up there all day and night. We arrived …

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 …