Environmental DNA analysis of soil biodiversity and freshwater habitat connectivity in Acadia National Park
Abbey has studied the ecology and conservation of Mojave ground squirrels in California, endangered pupfish and desert spring communities in Nevada, rainforests of Belize, and butterflies in Colorado. With her SCS project, Abbey uses new eDNA techniques to study factors that affect the conservation of biodiversity in the waters and soils of Acadia National Park, and to help the National Park Service better target its management actions, such as altering roads and trails to reduce their impacts to streams. During her fellowship, Abbey has helped NPS staff better understand how genetic and genomic techniques can improve their work. She has spoken about her fellowship work in a symposium at the AAAS annual meeting and will be delivering a seminar at the Jackson Lab, a global leader in genetics and genomics research. Abbey is currently working on proposals to scale up her work to examine biodiversity across protected areas nationally and to develop ways for citizen science volunteers to participate by collecting eDNA samples from waterways across the country.