In 2018, JGI embarked on a pilot project with biology students from Boca Raton Community High School in Palm Beach County, Florida. The class sought to apply the latest molecular techniques to learn more about the microbial communities in the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, a 226-square mile area of the northern Everglades in Palm Beach County, and particularly about the microbes that play roles in the methane cycle. Their data report, which provides the only known reference microbiome data sets for the Loxahatchee Refuge, was published in the journal Environmental Microbiome.
“Before JGI was involved, I was not sure we could even complete a full project. Every other group I contacted was happy to offer advice but declined to offer actual scientific help,” said Jonathan Benskin, who teaches the A-Level Advanced International Certificate of Education (AICE) Biology class at Boca Raton Community High School. “I can’t thank JGI enough for being willing to take a risk on a group of public high school students to see this project through to completion. Read more on the JGI website.