Degree Name

BS

Department

Statistics

College

Physical and Mathematical Sciences

Defense Date

2021-06-10

Publication Date

2021-06-18

First Faculty Advisor

Steve Leavitt

First Faculty Reader

Stephen Piccolo

Honors Coordinator

Steven Peck

Keywords

Lichen, DNA, Reference Library, App, R

Abstract

Accurate estimates of biodiversity can play crucial roles in monitoring ecological health. BYU’s Lichen Air Quality Biomonitoring program (Wright) represents one of the largest biomonitoring programs in the nation. Recently, DNA metabarcoding approaches have shown promise in streamlining lichen biodiversity inventories. However, to date, lichen diversity of western North America is poorly represented in available DNA reference libraries, preventing biologists and land managers from using DNA barcoding to identify unknown specimens. To solve this problem, I have developed a DNA reference library for over 500 species occurring in the Intermountain West region. Using bioinformatic and statistical tools, I created a user-friendly database that integrates with broad, world-wide initiatives. My research will be pivotal in moving BYU’s Lichen Air Quality Biomonitoring program forward and help secure ongoing support from the US Forest Service

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