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Wang Cai, PhD

I am a postdoctoral researcher in the Mariani Lab. Now I am working on the SpongeDNA project – focusing on natural environmental DNA samplers. This project expands the possibilities for using DNA to monitor marine biodiversity. I'll evaluate sponge nsDNA’s ability to monitor fish and cetaceans in real marine environments, like the sponge species that settle on various human-made structures and sponges that grow naturally on coral reefs. I will also compare the ability of sponge nsDNA and water eDNA to characterize community change.


I hold a Ph.D. in Zoology from the Kunming Institute of Zoology, CAS, China. My Ph.D. research has been devoted to the field of biodiversity monitoring using metabarcoding in forest and freshwater habitats. I am keen to develop the application of environmental DNA and metabarcoding technology to more practical scenarios rather than being limited to basic research. In addition to environmental DNA, I am also interested in/exploring how to use artificial intelligence tools to process larger datasets, and how to use novel approaches (i.e. sponge DNA) methods to prioritize conservation planning.


Last but not least, I love nature and hiking. During hiking, I can enjoy various gifts of nature, such as trees, insects, and mushrooms. Joining the Mariani lab allowed me to explore another side of nature – the blue planet, and I am very excited about what I will discover next!

Find out more about my research:

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