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October 4, 2022

LMERS scientists dedicated time to training in new techniques including High Throughput Sequencing, Bioinformatics, and discussing ongoing projects included in their 10+ year collaboration.

Researchers in a Laboratory
Aaron Aunins (Eastern Ecological Science Center, Leetown, West Virginia) prepares samples for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) as Kasia Kelly (left) and Dawn Shively (middle) ( both from Great Lakes Science Center, Chesterton, Indiana) observe and document the procedure. Photo credit: Murulee Byappanahalli, USGS.

Murulee Byappanahalli, Kasia Kelly, and Dawn Shively (GLSC, Chesterton, Indiana) visited the Eastern Ecological Science Center (EESC) at Leetown September 19-21, 2022, for training in high throughput sequencing (e.g., metabarcoding) and bioinformatics, and discussions on progress on current research projects between the two centers. Scientists from GLSC-Chesterton have been working with Aaron Aunins, Research Fisheries Biologist at EESC, for over 10 years in several areas of restoration and conservation ecology. The collaborative projects span across aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems and are funded by the Ecosystem Mission Area—including a recent project funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law—and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI). Broadly, projects within these aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems combine traditional surveys (e.g., trawling) with emerging technologies, such as environmental DNA (eDNA) and Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV), to assess native and nonnative fish communities and understand the factors contributing to degraded waterways in the Great Lakes basin. Specific projects include (1) assessment of pelagic prey fish in Lake Michigan (Peter Esselman GLSC, Byappanahalli, and Aunins), (2) restoration of degraded waterways within the Great Lakes Areas of Concern (Byappanahalli, David Lampe OH-KY-IN WSC, and Aunins), and (3) applying eDNA technology to assess ecological resilience of restored grasslands, a multi-center collaboration. During this visit, the GLSC-Chesterton team toured the various laboratories at the EESC Leetown facility.

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