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First meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board of the environmental DNA initiative

Date: 12 September 2022

On 4 July 2022, the Scientific Advisory Board of the environmental DNA initiative convened for the first time, sharing crucial recommendations as UNESCO prepares the global roll-out of the citizen science initiative.

The project “Environmental DNA Expeditions in UNESCO World Heritage Marine Sites” is guided by an international Scientific Advisory Board that brings together some of the world’s leading science and expertise in molecular ecology, eDNA, bioinformatics, fish metabarcoding, ocean science. Its sixteen members include:

  • Masaki Miya (Japan), Senior Principal Research Scientist at the Natural History Museum and Institute
  • Vanessa Yepes-Narvaez, Ph.D. (Colombia), Scientific researcher in the Marine and Coastal Research Institute of Colombia
  • Bruce Deagle (Australia), Science Leader and Director of the CSIRO Australian National Fish Collection
  • Francisco Chavez (USA), MBARI
  • Professor Sophie von der Heyden (South Africa), University of Stellenbosch
  • Associate Professor Craig Sherman (Australia), Deakin University
  • Professor Dianne Gleeson (Australia), Principal Researcher at EcoDNA, University of Canberra.
  • Giomar Helena Borrero Pérez (Colombia), Researcher at the Marine and Coastal Research Institute of Colombia
  • Kelly Goodwin, NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory
  • Naiara Rodríguez-Ezpeleta (Spain), Senior researcher at AZTI
  • Nicolas Pade, Ph.D. (France), Executive Director of EMBRC-ERIC
  • Ole Bjørn Brodnicke (Denmark), Ph.D. fellow at Copenhagen University
  • Pascal Hablützel, Ph.D. (Switzerland), Senior scientist at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ)
  • Kim Præbel (Norway), Professor in population genetics at The Arctic University
  • Julia Busch (Germany), Programme Officer at the Common Wadden Sea Secretariat
  • Hugo Gante (Belgium), Assistant professor at KU Leuven and senior scientist at the Royal Museum for Central Africa

The Scientific Advisory Board represents and acts as a connection to cutting-edge global scientific knowledge in the use of the eDNA sampling for marine biodiversity monitoring. The Scientific Advisory Board will collaborate with the UNESCO coordination team and partner eDNA laboratory in defining the optimum sampling and sample processing protocols within the limitations of citizen science sampling. In addition, the members of the Scientific Advisory Board will play a key role in the development of the publications utilizing the results of the project.

The project is implemented by UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission and World Heritage Centre, with the support of the Government of Flanders. It is the first UN Decade Action for Marine World Heritage, in the context of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030).

More information about the project is available here