Sampling the Santa Monica Mountains affected by the Woolsey Fire

It was wrenching to see the destruction and loss of life from the fire. Communities of organisms will reassemble somehow, and an important question to ask is will they be different than before (landscape conversion)? NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratories and CALeDNA want to understand this process by combining eDNA with remote sensing data. CALeDNA has 121 sites in the Santa Monica Mountains that are in the eDNA freezer — many of these areas burned and can be used to compare biodiversity before and after the fire. Volunteers, including JPL employees, set out to collect from burned sites. Some areas were dangerous with dead branches and debris, so we wore our helmets when hard hats weren’t available. We also thank Marti Witter from the Santa Monica Mountains Resource Conservation District for helping us access these sites. Photos below courtesy of Rachel Meyer and Natasha Stavros.