BARCODING BIODIVERSITY: FROM SPECIES DETECTION TO FRESHWATER BIOMONITORING USING eDNA METABARCODING
Joana Paupério (CIBIO-InBIO, Portugal) | October 28, 2019 | XXIII Congreso Sociedad Mesoamericana para la Biología y la Conservación, Antigua, Guatemala
Monitoring biodiversity and understanding the drivers of change at local, regional and global scales requires detailed information on the diversity, composition and structure of biological communities, as well as on species interactions. However, for many groups and contexts, this information is still scarce due to the high biological diversity and the limits on taxonomic expertise. High throughput DNA sequencing is boosting the ability to address these issues, by allowing the identification of species occurring in a given area, through a simple and inexpensive approach. Here, we showcase the application of high throughput DNA sequencing to document biodiversity in Portugal, and the use of environmental DNA metabarcoding techniques for understanding the structure and interactions within biological communities and developing biomonitoring programs. Biodiversity surveys have been conducted to build a DNA barcode reference collection – the InBIO Barcoding Initiative, that has been mainly focusing on invertebrate taxa. Until now, over 2000 species have been inventoried and are already barcoded. Sequenced specimens are kept as vouchers for future reference, and DNA sequences are made freely available on the Barcode of Life Data system (http://v4.boldsystems.org/). This reference library holds already good representation of some groups and allowed unravelling cryptic diversity. Based on this reference, we are using metabarcoding to analyse environmental samples, including water and bulk samples, for species detection and to understand the response of communities to land use change and anthropogenic drivers. Studies of trophic interactions using these approaches are also helping clarifying the role of small mammal species in aquatic and terrestrial food chains. Moreover, these studies are directly supporting the development of freshwater biomonitoring methods based on DNA metabarcoding. Overall, we highlight the value of eDNA metabarcoding for biomonitoring.