During his PhD project, Gert-Jan will be assessing environmental DNA (eDNA) as an alternative to traditional monitoring. Increasing human impact is leading to biodiversity loss and decreasing ecosystem health. Information regarding total biodiversity and the rare biosphere is necessary for assessment of ecosystem health. Since traditional monitoring methods are time-consuming, labor-intensive, and invasive, it's worth checking into alternative methods. eDNA is defined as genetic material obtained directly from environmental samples (soil, sediment, water, etc.) without any obvious signs of biological source material. Many studies have been conducted regarding eDNA in several ecosystems. However, marine eDNA studies are fairly recent, keeping many questions unanswered. In his PhD thesis, Gert-Jan will try to assess the sensitivity of the protocol, and also determine the temporal and spatial resolution of eDNA in the dynamic marine environment. Lastly, he will try to implement eDNA as a monitoring protocol in New Zealand.
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