Jun 11, 2015

Environmental DNA reveals that rivers are conveyer belts of biodiversity information

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Kristy DeinerJean-Claude Walser

Abstract

DNA sampled from the environment (eDNA) is becoming a game changer for uncovering biodiversity patterns. By combining a conceptual model and empirical data, we test whether eDNA transported in river networks can be used as an integrative way to assess eukaryotic biodiversity for large spatial scales and across the land-water interface. Using an eDNA metabarcode approach we detected 300 families of eukaryotes, spanning 19 phyla across the catchment of a river. We show for a subset of these families that eDNA samples overcome spatial autocorrelation biases associated with classical community assessments integrating biodiversity information over space. Additionally, we demonstrate that many terrestrial species can be detected; thus revealing eDNA in river-water integrates biodiversity information across terrestrial and aquatic biomes. Environmental DNA transported in river networks offers a novel and spatially integrated way to assess total biodiversity for whole landscapes and will revolutionize biodiversity data acquisition in ecology.

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Mentioned in this Paper

Patterns
Spatial Distribution
Environment
Anatomical Space Structure
Evaluation
Phyla
Species
Phyla <angiosperm>
Sampling - Surgical Action
Landscapes

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