DNAngler Citizen Science Project

DNAngler logo

A new outreach project that invites local anglers to help FAU Harbor Branch scientists inventory and monitor fish in the Indian River Lagoon!

Did you know scientists at FAU Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute can detect the different types of fish that swam through an area just by analyzing a water sample?! Our goal is to learn more about the fish living in the Indian River Lagoon— but we need your help! 

The importance of citizen science

Citizen science allows participants to make a direct contribution to scientific research while learning more about the natural world and local environmental issues. These opportunities provide a unique way to bridge the gap between scientists and the community, while helping researchers to maximize the amount of data collected on a project. Partnering with FAU Harbor Branch can help us to learn more about the wildlife in our local waters.

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What can we learn from eDNA?

As fish swim through the water, they leave behind waste products, mucous and other tiny cells that contain unique genetic material known as environmental DNA (eDNA). By filtering water samples and extracting eDNA, our scientists can determine if a species is present without physically capturing or seeing it! eDNA analysis is an innovative way for FAU Harbor Branch researchers to inventory and monitor fish in the Indian River Lagoon without the use of invasive techniques.

Cutting edge molecular technology

Our scientists use a molecular method called eDNA metabarcoding to assess and group animals living within a complex ecosystem. eDNA metabarcoding works by targeting a unique DNA fragment, or “barcode,” in an animal’s genetic makeup that links it to a particular species. This cutting-edge technology can allow us to identify a multitude of animals, compare species composition among different water samples, and shed light on biodiversity throughout the Indian River Lagoon.

DNAngler lab work

DNAngler Project Goals

By teaming up with local anglers and citizen observers, we hope to collect valuable data that can be used to learn more about and keep track of important fish species that live in the Indian River Lagoon. The information generated from this project is important for managing and conserving local fish populations. Please continue to check this page for project updates as well as the results from citizen-collected water samples!

Get Involved!

Join us at Round Island Park on Saturday July 14th from 9 am to 2 pm to participate in the FAU Harbor Branch DNAngler project! Citizen scientists must be willing to fish or observe anglers for at least one hour, fill out a data sheet and collect a water sample. While all research materials will be provided, participants must bring their own fishing equipment. Citizen scientists at this event will contribute to cutting edge research, learn more about the fish living in the Indian River Lagoon and have the chance to win raffle prizes! For more information or to RSVP please call the Ocean Discovery Visitors Center at 772-242-2293.

Click here to view the project flyer.