Jeremy deWaard


Monitoring biodiversity responses to natural and anthropogenic disturbances in BC’s forests: the application of DNA barcoding.

For monitoring biodiversity and detecting invasive species, knowing what species exist in a given location is paramount. Unfortunately, the subtle morphological characters that separate closely related species often demand expert interpretation, forcing studies to limit their taxonomic scope. DNA barcoding, the method of utilizing the sequence variation in a standardized DNA fragment to differentiate species, can circumvent these limits by transforming the tedious task of identifying specimens in biodiversity surveys to a rapid, accurate and unbiased task. Moreover, in addition to allowing the discrimination of species and quantification of richness and abundance, the sequence data may also provide valuable measures for other levels of biodiversity often neglected, namely genetic and phylogenetic diversity. DNA barcoding thus opens the door to a more holistic approach to measuring biodiversity. My current research makes use of this effective tool and applies it to the critical issue of forest biodiversity and health. My work promises to establish, assess and utilize a DNA barcoding system for the study and rapid monitoring of moth biodiversity, for the purpose of invasive species detection, and to assess the effects of human-induced and natural forest ecosystem modifications.