Sara Peixoto


I am a PGR at the University of Hull working with Dr. Lori Lawson Handley, investigating the use of environmental DNA for the detection of the invasive zebra mussel. I previously completed my Masters in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution at the University of Porto and my Undergraduate in Biology at the University of Aveiro, both in Portugal. Outside of academia I enjoy playing basketball, doing jigsaw puzzles, and anything Friends-related 🙂


2016 – 2018: Masters in Biodiversity, Genetics and Evolution from Porto University (Portugal)

2012 – 2016: Undergraduate in Biology from Aveiro University (Portugal)

Research Interests

The scientific areas I’m most interested in are ecology, biodiversity, conservation genetics and invasive species management.

Project Title

Understanding the spatial and temporal dynamics of environmental DNA for monitoring and management of priority invasive species


Lori Lawson Handley and Bernd Hänfling, University of Hull

Alison Dunn, University of Leeds

Ben Aston, Yorkshire Water

Kat Bruce, Nature Metrics

Alice Hiley and Kerry Walsh, Environment Agency


Panorama NERC DTP, 2019

Yorkshire Water

Project outline

Project objectives:

  • To understand the temporal dynamics of zebra mussel environmental DNA and inform future sampling campaigns
  • To understand the spatial dynamics of environmental DNA distribution and determine which key environmental variables influence the probability of detection of zebra mussel DNA
  • To use environmental DNA to identify key pathways and vectors for the spread of zebra mussels
  • To evaluate the impact of zebra mussels on the structure and function of invaded ecosystems