Using environmental DNA and citizen science to detect salamanders in Great Smoky Mountains National Park

We are excited to partner with Todd Pierson, a phD student from the University of Tennessee, to implement a state-of-the-art methodology that actually uses DNA to determine which species of salamanders live in our streams.

Here’s what Todd has to say:
“Because some salamanders are often difficult to find (and identify) reliably, we are exploring a new method called ‘environmental DNA’ to detect and monitor salamander populations in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Using this method, we can identify which species are present in a stream by collecting their DNA that is floating in the water!”

A team of dedicated, long-time citizen scientists who monitor the stream salamanders at Pigpen Branch every month have begun collecting water samples for eDNA extraction. We’re already seeing some interesting results from this study!

Get More Info on Todd’s Site