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!