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Student Newsroom                                                                                                                                                                                          Volume 11

eDNA Sampling in the Marsh

In our eighth grade science class, we collaborated with Beth Campbell from the University of Maine. In late September, she helped us sample water at the marsh to see what animals had been there by testing for DNA, also known as eDNA (environmental DNA). We did this to learn more about genetics and DNA and the marsh. 

The 8A class sampled their water at the outlet of the marsh where the water was brackish (part ocean water and part fresh water). The 8B class took their samples at the beaver dam in the upper marsh, by Watts Avenue.  We suspect that the results will be mostly different, as they are different and separate habitats. 

Helping us slowly through the process, Ms. Campbell showed us each step to collecting the water and eDNA from the marsh. The first step was obtaining a control. We did this by holding a Nalgene bottle with filtered water in the air. That sample was filtered to collect any eDNA that was in the air, so we could see what DNA (like a bird’s) was in the air before it fell into the water. Once we had gathered that, we could continue taking samples of the water and filtering them for eDNA. While we were only able to filter control sample, the other water samples were brought back to the UMaine lab and filtered there.  All of our samples will wait in a freezer until they are tested, then we will receive the results.

Soon we will be zooming with a lab scientist to learn more about the process of identifying the DNA of each animal.  We wonder what eDNA results we will get and what animals are in the marsh. We thought the process of this was very fun and we are so glad we got to do this with the help of Beth Campbell! Thank you Mrs. Campbell!

-Olivia Myers, Molly Gill and Trudee McClellan