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Biodiversity of San Diego Bay Project

Students from High Tech High in San Diego, CA USA conducted an invasive species pilot study for a future large scale ecological survey of San Diego Bay. Students identified species and collected samples for DNA barcoding. The DNA barcodes, many of them first time sequences, are served on EOL species pages and in an online EOL field guide. In addition, species images from the study were contributed to EOL.

Video courtesy of High Tech High School

Over the course of eight years, the High Tech High San Diego Bay Study has introduced over 400 high school juniors to original research in ecological assessment and engagement in writing and reflection regarding their urban ecology. Biologists from the Southwest Division of the United States Navy contacted Dr. Jay Vavra, a biology teacher at High Tech High to do a pilot study for a future large scale ecological survey of the Bay.

One of the goals of the project was that this would be a developmental study for a semiannual survey of San Diego Bay in cooperation with the Navy and the outcomes would be shared with the Invasive Species Management Plan. By conducting these surveys students and collaborating scientists could prevent and slow the spread of invasive species through early detection, rapid response, and hopefully eradication. Ultimately this work can help to reduce the effects of bioinvasions on human health, the economy, and the oceans.

Students focused on benthic marine invertebrates for their study. Student teams were charged with collecting and analyzing different taxanomic groups and strove to identify all species within their assigned taxa. They also collected samples for DNA barcoding work done in their lab. 

After doing the labwork, students uploaded species DNA barcode sequences to GenBank and Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD), both EOL content partners. DNA Barcoding uses a short DNA sequence to create a "barcode" to help identify a species.The DNA barcodes, many of them first time sequences, are served on EOL species pages. In addition, species images from the study were contributed to EOL.

Check out an EOL field guide of some invasive and native species found in the San Diego Bay as part of a the High Tech High San Diego Bay Study.

Read a full description of the project. 

View the High Tech High contributions to EOL.

Learn more about the High Tech High San Diego Bay Study