- Environmental Science and Management
- Department of Animal Science
Serra graduated in October, 2021 with a BS in Environmental Science and Management, Concentration in Ecology, Biodiversity, and Conservation. Her Honors Thesis Project Is Environmental DNA Quantitative for Species Monitoring in the San Francisco Estuary? evaluated metabarcoding methods for detection of fish and macroinvertebrates in the San Francisco Estuary using environmental DNA (eDNA). She designed and constructed an artificial mixture (mock community) of DNA extracts from 20 key species including native and endangered fishes and potential invasive species. She extracted DNA and prepared Illumina high-throughput sequencing libraries using three genetic barcodes (COI, 18S, and 12S) in the Genomic Variation Lab eDNA facility. Samples were sequenced at the UC Davis Genome center, and she used the DADA2 and phyloseq bioinformatic programs in R to analyze her data. Her work has helped delimit the capabilities of eDNA methods for research in the San Francisco Estuary. She was awarded a UC Davis Provost's Undergraduate Fellowship to fund her research. Funding from the the California Department of Fish and Wildlife/Proposition 1 to Dr. Andrea Schreier also made this research possible.
In addition to her Honors Thesis, Serra worked with Ecology graduate student Ann Holmes from 2019-2021 collecting eDNA samples and preparing Illumina metabarcoding sample libraries for research on bat diets and fish biodiversity in creeks, wetlands, and nearshore marine environments.
Outside of science research Serra is a skilled horsewoman.