Nicodemus Wilderness Project
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Nicodemus Wilderness Project


NWP Global Registry of Apprentice Ecologists - South Florida, USA

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South Florida, USA
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Registered: December 2022
City/Town/Province: Hialeah
Posts: 1
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As an aspiring researcher with a background in STEM, I have achieved a few notable accomplishments in my higher educational studies thus far. In February of 2022, I co-authored my first scientific peer-reviewed publication in the MDPI Microorganisms Journal, based on undergraduate research conducted in the summer of 2021. In addition, in October 2022, I was awarded an Outstanding Mentee Award for undergraduate research conducted in the summer of 2022.

As a non-traditional and first-generation college senior and STEM Ambassador on/off campus, I have completed several undergraduate research internships. I am preparing to complete my sixth internship before graduating with a distinction in STEM scholastic leadership this Spring of 2023. I am enthusiastic about pursuing a career in research, particularly in the field of microbial ecology. I am eager to move forward in my academic journey, enroll in graduate school, and make noteworthy contributions.

I am participating in the Apprentice Ecologist project on behalf of the Nicodemus Wilderness Project because it aligns with my interests and goals in research. The Nicodemus Wilderness Project is a non-profit organization that works to preserve and restore natural habitats and ecosystems. As part of an ongoing undergraduate STEM research internship, I have been working on a South Florida-based stipend research project focused on bacteria in freshwater environments with my mentor and another undergraduate research student at my college. The ongoing project, which began in January 2022, involves the collection, filtration, DNA extraction, amplification, sequencing, and analysis of environmental samples from various freshwater locations, including bays, creeks, canals, rivers, lakes, and ponds. Some of these freshwater sites were previously polluted, while others were traditionally pristine, providing a unique opportunity to study the impacts of pollution on local bacterial communities.

The utilization of environmental DNA (eDNA) as a tool in ecological research presents a plethora of advantages compared to traditional methods. Environmental DNA refers to the genetic material excreted and found in the environment by a wide range of organisms, including animals, plants, and microorganisms. Environments, where eDNA is found, include atmospheric air, fresh and marine water, sediment, snow, soil, and more. This genetic material, or eDNA, can be collected and analyzed to evaluate species diversity and distribution within ecosystems. One of the chief advantages of eDNA is its surveying ability to detect and identify a diverse range of species. This includes those that are rare, elusive, or challenging to observe directly. In contrast, traditional methods frequently depend on the direct observation or capture of individual organisms, which can be resource-intensive and may not offer a comprehensive understanding of species present in an ecosystem.

To extract and measure DNA from the environmental samples, we implemented standard protocols for DNA extraction and quantification measures, from January 2022 to July 2022. We subsequently employed polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to amplify our DNA sequence region of interest, from August 2022 to December 2022. In the subsequent steps, this will allow us to study the diversity and composition of the bacterial communities at different freshwater sites. From January 2023 to April 2023, we will employ next-generation sequencing (NGS) techniques to generate raw metadata in tandem with bioinformatics tools to analyze and visualize the metagenomic data from our candidate samples and present our findings in a way that is easy to understand and interpret. The results of this study will enable us to examine the relative abundance and distribution of various bacterial species in different freshwater locations in South Florida.

This research aims to understand the effects of pollution on bacterial communities in these freshwater environments in South Florida. The insights gained from this study have the potential to inform efforts to protect and restore these vulnerable ecosystems. In addition, they can help the community better understand the role that bacteria play in the health and functioning of these systems. This research aims to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the impacts of pollution on the environment. In conclusion, this research has the potential to make a significant contribution to the understanding of the impacts of pollution on these freshwater environments in South Florida. Findings have the potential to inform community organizations, local governments, and the public about the challenges facing freshwater ecosystems and the importance of conservation efforts. By sharing our findings on bacterial and environmental DNA from these freshwater sites and working to develop effective conservation measures, we hope to support the protection and preservation of these vital resources.
Date: December 20, 2022 Views: 1191 File size: 16.0kb, 266.6kb : 1280 x 720
Authors Age & Age Range of Volunteers: 21-50
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