San Nicolas Island meta-barcoding for island fox diet analysis

Project Dates

2019 - 2022


The diminutive San Nicolas Island fox is found nowhere else in the world and is the top predator on that island. Invertebrates and plants are substantial components of their diet, but until recently, it has been difficult to reliably assess the specific composition of their diet throughout the year. With the development of meta-barcoding techniques and the growth of public DNA sequence databases, robust estimates of island fox diet can now be made for a fraction of the cost of less reliable manual techniques. These modern approaches are being used to examine island fox diet on San Nicolas Island, which will guide conservation of the fox and habitat restoration on the island.


To understand the diet of the rare endemic San Nicolas Island fox

Team Members

Kristen Lehman, Ph.D. 

Matt Guilliams, Ph.D. 

Caitlin Hazelquist 


U.S. Navy (Naval Base Ventura County)

Brian Cypher, Ph.D. (California State University, Stanislaus)


U.S. Navy (Naval Base Ventura County)

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