Reliable, verifiable and efficient monitoring of biodiversity via metabarcoding

Ji, Yinqiu, Ashton, Louise, Pedley, Scott M., Edwards, David P., Tang, Yong, Nakamura, Akihiro, Kitching, Roger, Dolman, Paul M., Woodcock, Paul, Edwards, Felicity A., Larsen, Trond H., Hsu, Wayne W., Benedick, Suzan, Hamer, Keith C., Wilcove, David S., Bruce, Catharine, Wang, Xiaoyang, Levi, Taal, Lott, Martin, Emerson, Brent C., and Yu, Douglas W. (2013) Reliable, verifiable and efficient monitoring of biodiversity via metabarcoding. Ecology Letters, 16 (10). pp. 1245-1257.

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Abstract

To manage and conserve biodiversity, one must know what is being lost, where, and why, as well as which remedies are likely to be most effective. Metabarcoding technology can characterise the species compositions of mass samples of eukaryotes or of environmental DNA. Here, we validate metabarcoding by testing it against three high-quality standard data sets that were collected in Malaysia (tropical), China (subtropical) and the United Kingdom (temperate) and that comprised 55,813 arthropod and bird specimens identified to species level with the expenditure of 2,505 person-hours of taxonomic expertise. The metabarcode and standard data sets exhibit statistically correlated alpha- and beta-diversities, and the two data sets produce similar policy conclusions for two conservation applications: restoration ecology and systematic conservation planning. Compared with standard biodiversity data sets, metabarcoded samples are taxonomically more comprehensive, many times quicker to produce, less reliant on taxonomic expertise and auditable by third parties, which is essential for dispute resolution.

Item ID: 30011
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1461-0248
Keywords: targeted monitoring, DNA barcoding, systematic conservation planning, restoration ecology, tropical forest, climate change, surveillance monitoring, heathland, biodiversity
Additional Information:

© 2013 The Authors. Ecology Letters published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd and CNRS. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Funders: Queensland-Chinese Academy of Sciences (QCAS), Griffith University, Princeton University, Natural Environment Research Council, Forestry Commission, Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service and Suffolk Biodiversity Partnership, High Meadows Foundation, Yunnan Province, Chinese Academy of Sciences, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Science and Technology of China, University of East Anglia, State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution at the Kunming Institute of Zoology
Projects and Grants: QCAS Biotechnology Fund GJHZ1130, Yunnan Province Grant Number 20080A001, Chinese Academy of Sciences Grant Number 0902281081, Chinese Academy of Sciences Grant Number KSCX2-YW-Z-1027, National Natural Science Foundation of China Grant Number 31170498, Ministry of Science and Technology of China Grant Number 2012FY110800
Date Deposited: 30 Oct 2013 09:43
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0699 Other Biological Sciences > 069902 Global Change Biology @ 50%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0501 Ecological Applications > 050199 Ecological Applications not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970105 Expanding Knowledge in the Environmental Sciences @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 50%
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