Environmental DNA (eDNA) to Survey Sea Turtles for Conservation Research
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ENVIRONMENTAL DNA (eDNA)

Hawaii basking sea turtle with surfers and swimmers in background

Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a non-invasive monitoring tool for conservation researchers to survey for their species of concern. In our case, since we are interested in finding out where sea turtles are basking in Hawaii for our basking behavior research, we conduct eDNA analysis on sand samples to determine whether sea turtles are present or absent at any specific beach. By collecting beach sand around the island, we can improve our surveying of potential locations where sea turtles are basking. Additionally, we can determine if sea turtles are foraging in nearshore waters by analyzing water samples since research studies have shown that sea turtle eDNA can be detected in estuaries.