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Margaret (Maggie) E. Hunter

Research Geneticist

Wetland and Aquatic Research Center

Office Phone: 352-264-3484
Fax: 352-378-4956
ORCID: 0000-0002-4760-9302

WARC - GVL - South Modular
7920 NW 71St Street
Gainesville , FL 32653

Supervisor: Danielle M Kitchen
Bullseye snakehead, Channa marulius, was first detected in 2000 in the southern Florida town of Tamarac and has been expanding its geographic range. Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a newly-developed technique used to non-invasively detect cryptic or low-density species, or those that are logistically difficult to study. Genetic material shed into the environment through tissue and body fluids is concentrated from water samples and analyzed for the presence of target species eDNA. To help delineate bullseye snakehead’s geographic range, we developed and validated a species-specific eDNA assay for both quantitative and droplet digital PCR (ddPCR). We then used ddPCR to assess 16 locations in southeast Florida...
We are working to incorporate environmental DNA (eDNA) data into the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) database, which houses over 570,000 records of nonindigenous species nationally, and already is used by a broad user-base of managers and researchers regularly for invasive species monitoring. eDNA studies have allowed for the identification and biosurveillance of numerous invasive and threatened species in managed ecosystems. Managers need such information for their decision-making efforts, and therefore require that such data be produced and reported in a standardized fashion to improve confidence in the results. As we work to gain community consensus on such standards, we are finalizing the process for submitting...
Global biodiversity is rapidly declining, threatening humans, ecosystems, and the services that society relies upon. Monitoring and understanding the extent of biodiversity declines can support policy decisions. Genetic diversity is the foundation of biodiversity, determining the capacity of populations to adapt to environmental changes and to sustain function and structure in all ecosystems. While the availability of genetic diversity data has exponentially increased in the past decade, genetic data have been poorly mobilized to understand biodiversity change at large scales; consequently, there is limited integration into management and policy. To solve this challenge, large-scale synthesis of genetic diversity...
These data represent the standard curve values as well as measurements of cytokine and reference gene transcripts from blood samples collected from Florida manatees and quantified using quantitative PCR.
We analyzed the single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present in the genomes of moose representing 3 subspecies in the contiguous United States. Blood samples were collected opportunistically from collaborators during field efforts or were supplied to our lab from collaborators' archives, and represented moose sampling occurring between 2009-2017. DNA was extracted, sequenced using next generation sequencing, and SNPs analyzed using the genetics programs Structure and Tess3, and by performing basic population statistics. These analyses were used to determine the population structure of moose at the subspecies level.
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