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You are here: Home Partner Projects Spotlight on National Park Resources Next-Generation DNA Sequencing of Prey Species in Coyote Scat from Prince William Forest Park and Manassas National Battlefield Park

Next-Generation DNA Sequencing of Prey Species in Coyote Scat from Prince William Forest Park and Manassas National Battlefield Park

Tyler Biles - Graduate Student, Clair Fremuth, Chelsea Miller - Undergraduate Students, Brian Masters, Harald Beck - Professors Towson University, Department of Biological Sciences

Fecal (scat) analyses can be used to investigate a predator’s diet. Recent studies have used Next-Generation DNA sequencing to identify the prey species present in the feces of predators. Such an approach is used in this study to determine the diet of coyotes (Canis latrans) living in two areas that are geographically close yet distinct in terms of landscape & human impact. Scat samples  from Prince William Forest Park, a largely forested area with relatively low disturbance & Manassas National Battlefield Park, characterized by many open fields & much  human impact, were collected. Next-Generation sequencing of a variable mitochondrial DNA region  was used to identify the prey species present in the scat samples  & the data were compared between the two NCR parks. These  data were also compared to ones obtained via a traditional, visual approach to fecal analysis to contrast both methods in their effectiveness of identifying prey species.

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