This seminar hosted by Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory will be given virtually. For information and access to the Zoom room, please contact the Seminar organizer.
Title: Historical Ecology with Environmental DNA
Speaker: Dr. Sabrina Shirazi, Postdoctoral researcher with the Smithsonian Institution, University of Oklahoma, and The Nature Conservancy
Abstract: Environmental DNA (eDNA) refers to DNA isolated from environmental samples such as water, sediment, or air. eDNA is recently becoming more available to researchers across various disciplines and is being used to answer a large array of research questions from biodiversity monitoring to assessing the sanitation of hospitals. Under particular situations where soil or sediment maintain stratigraphy, and climatic variables align to support DNA preservation, eDNA can persist for up to hundreds of thousands of years. Shirazi will provide a brief overview of environmental DNA, including its strengths and limitations in research, and the array of research questions that can be addressed. They will then report on recent and ongoing projects using eDNA to answer questions in historical ecology- from the timing of the peopling of the Faroe Islands, to the biodiversity gathered by Chumash people on the California coast. Shirazi’s current work is in direct collaboration with the Chumash, and they will highlight why eDNA is particularly strong when aiming for non-invasive research that can target taxonomic groups of interest.