Olympic Natural Resource Center talk focuses on eDNA research

Evening presentation a continuation of first 2020 Wild Steelhead Review

Austen Thomas

Austen Thomas

FORKS — The Olympic Natural Resource Center’s Evening Talks are going online.

Tonight’s talk will be a continuation of the center’s first 2020 Wild Steelhead Review evening event featuring eDNA research.

The talk will be at 7 p.m. To join the Zoom meeting, go to washington.zoom.us/j/94425137999. The meeting ID is 944 2513 7999. The one-tap mobile number is +12532158782, 94425137999#.

Austen Thomas, senior research scientist with Smith-Root, will discuss conducting e-DNA research. There are specific Olympic Peninsula eDNA research efforts currently proceeding. Thomas, who has a doctorate, will share information about the use of eDNA to detect the presence of specific populations of fish and other aquatic species in local rivers and estuaries.

Olympic Natural Resource Center (ONRC) plans to host more natural resource professionals working on the Olympic Peninsula conducting eDNA research in future Evening Talks, said Frank Hanson, education and outreach facilitator at ONRC.

Austen joined Smith-Root in 2015 and has directed the development of the Environmental DNA division.

Working alongside the in-house engineering team, he designed the Smith-Root eDNA sampling system and fostered partnerships with other companies to help make Smith-Root a leader in eDNA technology, Hanson said in a press release.

He is a research molecular ecologist with over 15 years of experience conducting field surveys, and he possesses a strong publication record with a focus on DNA metabarcoding, Hanson said.

Currently there is a local coastal eDNA working group coordinated by the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission’s coastal office. These local working groups of natural resource professionals are looking at coordinating and disseminating current efforts in using eDNA.

Their efforts are focused on future data sharing and the state-of-the-art techniques on this process to target authentic evaluations of occupancy and spatial distributions of various aquatic species in Washington coast watersheds, Hanson said.

Evening Talks at ONRC are funded through the Rosmond Forestry Education Fund, an endowment that honors the contributions of Fred Rosmond and his family to forestry, natural resources and the Forks community.

For more information, contact Hanson at 360-374-4556 or [email protected].

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