Coast to Coral: Using eDNA to monitor benthic communities

Join Reef Check Australia and friends on the first Tuesday night of each month in your lounge room/office/comfy chair, for an evening of discovery, inspiration and appreciation of our local marine, coastal and catchment environments.


Ilha Byrne grew up enjoying the coastal and marine ecosystems of Tanzania, east Africa and fell in love with SCUBA diving and snorkelling at a young age. She moved to Australia in 2013 and later completed a Bachelor of Science (Honours) at University of Queensland (UQ) majoring in Marine Biology and Genetics in 2021. Thereafter, she worked as a research assistant on the Sustainable Urban Seascapes Project (Moreton Bay) at UQ. During this time, she was responsible for running the eDNA project which she will describe in her presentation. Ilha is currently a PhD candidate at UQ working on coral genomics and marine spatial planning on the GBR. She also works as a team leader for Reef Check Australia and is involved in various teaching and outreach activities at UQ.


Environmental DNA (eDNA) is increasingly used to characterise biodiversity and monitor ecosystems around the world. In this study, Ilha and the team applied eDNA techniques to monitor the benthic communities present in the coral reef ecosystems of Quandamooka (Moreton Bay). The team collected sediment, corals, and settlement tiles from eight sites inside and outside the bay. Their main aim is to characterise the bacterial and invertebrate communities present in the samples and describe the seasonal dynamics and turnover in species occurrence at the sites. They hope this work will help us better understand and document the biodiversity present in the Quandamooka region and provide insights into the potential impacts of the 2022 floods on the benthic communities of this region. In this presentation, Ilha will present an overview of eDNA techniques and share some of their preliminary data.

Virtual doors (zoom) opens at 6.25pm for a 6:30 pm start.

Bring a mate and share in the discovery!

At Reef Check Australia we’re all about inspiring our mates and we love to read your thoughts! So, share your favourite parts about the night and tag us! Reef Check Australia #coasttocoral

This initiative is hosted by Reef Check Australia, and proudly supported by oh so many groups including the City of Gold Coast, Port of Brisbane Pty Ltd, Sunshine Coast Council's Environment Levy partnerships grant, The Great Barrier Reef Foundation and Townsville City Council.

Future talks take place on the first Tuesday night of each month, with a new, interesting and engaging speaker.

For more information contact

July 11, 2023 at 6:30pm - 8:30pm
Will you come?