Jack Dotzler, Loyola College


Class Year:



Jeffrey Cornwell, Ph.D.

Project Title:

eDNA Analysis to Track the Footprint of Oyster Aquaculture


To assess the ability of oyster aquaculture sites in the Chesapeake Bay to remove nitrogen via coupled nitrification-denitrification, a better understanding of the production and dispersal of oyster biodeposits is necessary. To track the movement of biodeposits at aquaculture sites, environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis of oyster DNA was used to track biodeposit particles. The research had three steps: measure the ability of eDNA to amplify DNA from oyster biodeposits, temporally measure the persistence of oyster DNA in the Chesapeake Bay environment, and, depending on the persistence of eDNA, to measure the spatial distribution of oyster biodeposits at each site. DNA amplification of the oyster genome was proved to be possible. However, the temporal and spatial analyses of these factors revealed that the sediment dynamics under and around aquaculture sites are more complex than anticipated. In the future, a study like this would require a multidisciplinary approach, and further measures should be taken to reduce heterogeneity and inhibition.


Horn Point Laboratory

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PhD student in biogeochemistry at Stony Brook University

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