I study marine eDNA: the process of taking water samples, sequencing the bits of marine organism DNA they contain, and using that data to enable communities to understand marine biodiversity. While most researchers focus on the scientific elements of eDNA—how can we best collect, sequence, and interpret eDNA data—and I too aim to develop better tools for using eDNA to understand biodiversity changes in response to ocean acidification, I am also interested in the human implications of this big-data approach to understanding marine ecosystems. How do scientists, policymakers, and the public think about eDNA results, and how can they be involved in the process? How does eDNA data complement or overshadow other forms of knowledge about the ocean? Does this detached tool—divorced for the visual methods typical in biodiversity monitoring—change how we understand, value, and aspire to protect marine environments?
My work, at the intersection of biological oceanography and science & technology studies, aims to combat the techno-optimism inherent to much eDNA research—if we build a better tool, we’ll increase ocean knowledge, and therefore conservation—by centering the human context that eDNA operates within. Thus, I want my work to be driven by the perspectives of stakeholders that might benefit from, or be affected by, the advancement of eDNA monitoring. And I want my research to demonstrate what community-based eDNA monitoring can look like: from using focus groups to inform eDNA projects to facilitating citizen science eDNA collection to making eDNA analysis more accessible.
I’m lucky to work with amazing undergraduate and co-term research collaborators; learn more about my current research and Team eDNA by clicking the button below.
(2020) Animal Agriculture and Climate Change in the US and UK Elite Media: Volume, Responsibilities, Causes and Solutions, Environmental Communication, DOI: 10.1080/17524032.2020.1805344
Meghan M. Shea, James Painter & Shannon Osaka (2020) Representations of Pacific Islands and climate change in US, UK, and Australian newspaper reporting. Climatic Change 161, 89–108. DOI: 10.1007/s10584-020-02674-w
Ocean Science and Vulnerability in the News: A Case Study of Reporting on Pacific Islands and Climate Change
2020 Ocean Sciences Meeting | Oral Presentation
Use of a Land-Based, Dual-Parameter Analyzer for Tracking Ocean Acidification in Nearshore Coastal Habitats
2016 Fall AGU Meeting | Oral Presentation | Outstanding Student Presentation Award
Ocean Acidification Observations from a West Coast Shellfish Hatchery
2016 NOAA Hollings Scholar Symposium | Oral Presentation | Undergraduate Presentation Award
Coupled Biogeochemical and Hydrodynamic Measurements over a Palauan Seagrass Bed: Can Seagrass Mitigate Local Acidification Stress?
2016 Ocean Sciences Meeting | Poster Presentation | Co-Presented with PhD student Heidi Hirsh