Chris Johns, Ph.D.
Larry Reeves, Ph.D.
I have broad interest across a variety of fields including entomology, herpetology, community ecology and biodiversity conservation, that converge on my current research project: the development of molecular methods for identifying faunal communities and detecting the presence of species. All animals, through the actions of blood and tissue feeding invertebrates, the shedding of hair and skin cells, saliva, waste products, decomposition, etc. – deposit DNA into their environment. For a period of time, this DNA persists and can be sampled, ultimately leading to the identification of the species from which the DNA was derived. These methods can be used to rapidly profile entire vertebrate communities, as well as determine the presence of target species – like the Burmese python in the Everglades.