Katherine Viehl is a first-generation UCF Senior working on her bachelor’s in biology with a minor in environmental sciences. She aspires to work for the research and conservation of marine systems in areas of particularly high biodiversity. Currently in the lab, she is developing species-specific primers for use in eDNA surveys for tracking the spread of Red Lionfish (Pterois volitans), an invasive species in the western Atlantic. Additionally, working with the other interns, she is helping build the framework of a COI database for all Florida fish, compiling the mtDNA sequences from BOLD and filling in the gaps via extractions and PCR of individual specimens for use in identification of eDNA fragments in future projects. Once she completes her undergraduate degree, she hopes to continue on with her education through a master’s program in conservation genomics or phylogenetics.

Student Research: Understanding the Lionfish Invasion in Florida