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Natalie Sawaya is a PhD student in Dr. Mya Breitbart’s Marine Genomics Lab at the College of Marine Science in the University of South Florida. Currently Natalie is working as a part of the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) project which aims to assess the diversity of marine organisms at various marine sanctuaries through environmental DNA (eDNA). Environmental DNA is the DNA left behind by organisms in the water through shedding of cells, scales, mucus and fecal matter. Analyzing eDNA enables a water sample to provide the composition of an entire ecosystem at a higher resolution than visual surveys alone, which will be very useful to determining the health and understanding the dynamics of that ecosystem.


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