SSU Alumna Kristy Deiner leads worldwide biodiversity sampling

June 7, 2024
Kristy Deiner

On the International Day for Biodiversity (May 22), SSU alumna Dr. Kristy Deiner led the largest one-day aquatic biodiversity sampling effort in the world, a project highlighted in the science journal Nature. 

“Her project — called LeDNA, which stands for lake eDNA — aims to prove that the eDNA from a lake represents not just lake-dwelling species, but also terrestrial animals that live along the rivers that feed into the lake and around the lake itself,” article author Lydia Larson wrote. 

Deiner and her team enrolled citizen scientists from around the globe to collect water samples from 800 lakes worldwide. The samples are being sent to her research group at the University ETH Zurich, in Switzerland, where they will conduct analyses of environmental DNA (eDNA) in the water samples. 

On May 22 she posted on X, “Enjoyed listening to birds & insects, smelling the flowers and sampling all their #eDNA on this #BiodiversityDay! Joined by hundreds of others in a global collaboration to measure the state of life on Earth.”

Deiner earned her B.S. (2001) and M.S.(2004) in Biology at Sonoma State before receiving her Ph.D. from UC Davis and becoming a Fulbright Scholar overseas.  

“Dr. Deiner has remained engaged in supporting student research at SSU even from her far-away home in Switzerland,” said Derek Girman, Director of Graduate Studies and Professor of Biology.

In addition to providing technical help to undergraduate Biology students doing research, she has served in student oral exam and thesis defense opportunities, Zoomed into numerous meetings to consult on student research, and was a keynote speaker at the 2021 virtual Graduate Student Celebration. There she spoke to hundreds of viewers who joined to recognize graduating students from all SSU graduate programs that year, Girman said.