Reseda High samples lead to new theory on DNA distribution in terrestrial systems

Reseda High School students were involved with CALeDNA from start to finish. A) Twenty five Reseda High School students, ages 15 – 17, used CALeDNA kits to collect samples at Stunt Ranch. B) They collect samples from general areas on a map that land managers chose. C) Indicates the relative abundance of plant taxa sequencing reads recovered for a single site sampled. D-L) The plants recovered in eDNA results were confirmed to be growing at Location C. Examples include D) Bromus, E) Tribulus, F) Medicago, G) Lupinus, H) Marah, I) Fraxinus, J) Eucrypta chrysanthemifolia, H) Artemesia, L) Centaurea melitensis. Bromus, Tribulus, and Centaurea are invasive species targeted for removal; DNA may indicate the presence of these species in the seedbank even if they are not visibly growing in an area. The results from the Reseda High School soil collections, observations, and other fieldwork activities are helping scientists understand the limitations and utility of eDNA samples, which inform the design of state-wide investigations.