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Tool for detection of invasive species

Research Achievements

Tool for detection of invasive species

GLOBES IGERT trainee Matt Barnes contributed to a recent PLoS ONE publication that describes a potential new tool for the detection of invasive species within the ballast tanks of transoceanic ships. The study was a collaboration between the labs of GLOBES Co-PIs David Lodge, Jeffrey Feder and Notre Dame engineers. New screening methods are needed to prevent introductions of invasive species to coastal ecosystems such as found in the Laurentian Great Lakes that remain vulnerable to damage from species introductions via ballast water discharge from ships. The detection technology is based on a microfluidic chip containing DNA oligonucleotide functionalized carbon nanotubes that makes it possible to test rapidly for the presence of target organisms in specific ships. With further refinement, the technology could lead to real-time ballast water screening to inform decisions by ship operators and environmental managers.