Whitney Laboratory Receives Funding from UF Biodiversity Institute to Develop New Bioinformatics Tools
Published: Wednesday, March 1, 2017
Whitney Laboratory Director Mark Martindale and Biodiversity Scientist Francois Michonneau in collaboration with Whitney Laboratory Assistant Professor of Biology Joseph Ryan and Florida Museum of Natural History Curator of Marine Malacology Gustav Paulay received funding from the University of Florida Biodiversity Institute. This funding will be used to develop new bioinformatics tools aimed at characterizing communities of marine animals.
To understand how human activities impact biodiversity, we need tools and methods that can accurately and rapidly document which species are found in a given environment. For marine organisms, this has been difficult because there are a lot of species and identifying them requires experts. Recent technological developments allow researchers to use the DNA to estimate the number of species that are found in the environment. However, it has been difficult to know what are these species. We will develop tools that will take advantage of DNA found in public databases to improve the matching of the DNA sequences to species. By improving the accuracy of this process, we will be able to better document how biodiversity changes through time.