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Journal Articles Environmental DNA Year : 2021

Comparing environmental DNA metabarcoding and underwater visual census to monitor tropical reef fishes

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Abstract

Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a revolutionary method to monitor marine biodiversity from animal DNA traces. Examining the capacity of eDNA to provide accurate biodiversity measures in species-rich ecosystems such as coral reefs is a prerequisite for their application in long-term monitoring. Here, we surveyed two Colombian tropical marine reefs, the island of Providencia and Gayraca Bay near Santa Marta, using eDNA and underwater visual census (UVC) methods. We collected a large quantity of surface water (30 L per filter) above the reefs and applied a meta- barcoding protocol using three different primer sets targeting the 12S mitochondrial DNA, which are specific to the vertebrates Actinopterygii and Elasmobranchii. By assigning eDNA sequences to species using a public reference database, we detected the presence of 107 and 85 fish species, 106 and 92 genera, and 73 and 57 families in Providencia and Gayraca Bay, respectively. Of the species identified using eDNA, 32.7% (Providencia) and 18.8% (Gayraca) were also found in the UVCs. We further found congruence in genus and species richness and abundance between eDNA and UVC had a phylogenetic and ecological signal, with eDNA detecting a broader cies and those in deeper habitats. Altogether, eDNA can be used for fast and broad biodiversity surveys and is applicable to species-rich ecosystems in the tropics, but improved coverage of the reference database is required before this new method could serve as an effective complement to traditional census methods.
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Dates and versions

hal-03810224 , version 1 (11-10-2022)

Licence

Attribution - CC BY 4.0

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Cite

Andrea Polanco Fernández, Virginie Marques, Fabian Fopp, Jean‐baptiste Juhel, Giomar Helena Borrero-Pérez, et al.. Comparing environmental DNA metabarcoding and underwater visual census to monitor tropical reef fishes. Environmental DNA, 2021, 3 (1), pp.142-156. ⟨10.1002/edn3.140⟩. ⟨hal-03810224⟩
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