Hi, I’m Irena. I’m a proud native of Staten Island. For my masters’ thesis I am assessing the biodiversity of the area surrounding Soundview’s oyster restoration sites.

Oysters were once very abundant in New York, but by the early 20th century they had nearly all disappeared due to water pollution and overharvesting.

For the past [X] years, [organization Y] has put together a restoration program to build these oyster communities back up. The oyster populations are returning, the last report shows that we have [add a stat that shows the progress of the restoration program]. The health of the oyster restoration program is dependent on the environment surrounding the oysters.

Using the eDNA from water and soil samples from the oyster restoration sites in Soundview park, we will be able to determine what organisms have come into contact with the environment. We will be able to tell you what species reside and travel through Soundview from August to October of this year. We will be using this data to understand how the biodiversity affects the oyster restoration programs.

To assess the environment, I need your support. In order to understand the biodiversity near Soundview, we need funds to analyze the eDNA in our samples we collect between August and October.

I am sampling 1 liter of water from each site, oyster reef and two upstream locations as controls. Five soil samples will be taken from each site once a month from August to October of this year. I’ve already started with the sampling.

We have two methods of understanding what is in the surrounding water. The first method is we will send the samples to a lab to analyze the eDNA. This will tell us…. [ ].

The second method is I will be sifting through the soil samples with the help of the Fitzgerald Lab and identify organisms we find in the samples.

The data from the eDNA study and the observations from the morphological study should match up. This assessment of the organisms in the surrounding environment will tell us… [ ].

To do this I need your support to fund this. You can help by funding the project or sharing the link with friends who are interested. If you fund the project I will be sharing with you the process of analyzing samples for eDNA and how I process the soil samples. As I discover new organisms you’ll hear about them in my lab notes. And, once I complete the study I’ll be sharing my thesis with you. Thanks for taking the time to watch this video, and I hope you’ll join me on this journey! I really appreciate your support!

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