Field calibration of blowfly-derived DNA against traditional methods for assessing mammal diversity in tropical forests

Lee, Ping-Shin, Gan, Han Ming, Clements, Gopalasamy Reuben, and Wilson, John-James (2016) Field calibration of blowfly-derived DNA against traditional methods for assessing mammal diversity in tropical forests. Genome, 59 (11). pp. 1008-1022.

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Mammal diversity assessments based on DNA derived from invertebrates have been suggested as alternatives to assessments based on traditional methods; however, no study has field-tested both approaches simultaneously. In Peninsular Malaysia, we calibrated the performance of mammal DNA derived from blowflies (Diptera: Calliphoridae) against traditional methods used to detect species. We first compared five methods (cage trapping, mist netting, hair trapping, scat collection, and blowfly-derived DNA) in a forest reserve with no recent reports of megafauna. Blowfly-derived DNA and mist netting detected the joint highest number of species (n = 6). Only one species was detected by multiple methods. Compared to the other methods, blowfly-derived DNA detected both volant and non-volant species. In another forest reserve, rich in megafauna, we calibrated blowfly-derived DNA against camera traps. Blowfly-derived DNA detected more species (n = 11) than camera traps (n = 9), with only one species detected by both methods. The rarefaction curve indicated that blowfly-derived DNA would continue to detect more species with greater sampling effort. With further calibration, blowfly-derived DNA may join the list of traditional field methods. Areas for further investigation include blowfly feeding and dispersal biology, primer biases, and the assembly of a comprehensive and taxonomically-consistent DNA barcode reference library.

Item ID: 47102
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1480-3321
Keywords: camera traps, cage traps, hair traps, Malaysia, mist nets
Additional Information:

This project was presented at the 6th International Barcode of Life Conference as part of an Insitutional Links Program (Queen Mary University of London-University of Malaya) supported by the Newton-Ungku Omar Fund.

Funders: Nagao Natural Environment Foundation, Japan, Ministry of Higher Education, Malaysia (MOHE), University of Malaysia, Monash University, Malaysia (MUM), Woodland Park Zoo (WPZ)
Projects and Grants: MOHE Fundamental Research Grant Scheme FP042-2014A, MUM Tropical Medicine and Biology Platform, WPZ Panthera Wildcat Conservation Grant
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2016 07:37
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3102 Bioinformatics and computational biology > 310203 Computational ecology and phylogenetics @ 80%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310307 Population ecology @ 20%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960505 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Forest and Woodlands Environments @ 100%
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