Acidity promotes degradation of multi-species environmental DNA in lotic mesocosms

Seymour, Mathew; Durance, Isabelle; Cosby, Bernard J.; Ransom-Jones, Emma; Deiner, Kristy; Ormerod, Steve J.; Colbourne, John K.; Wilgar, Gregory; Carvalho, Gary R.; de Bruyn, Mark; Edwards, Francois; Emmett, Bridget A.; Bik, Holly M.; Creer, Simon. 2018 Acidity promotes degradation of multi-species environmental DNA in lotic mesocosms. Communications Biology, 1, 4. 8, pp.

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Accurate quantification of biodiversity is fundamental to understanding ecosystem function and for environmental assessment. Molecular methods using environmental DNA (eDNA) offer a non-invasive, rapid, and cost-effective alternative to traditional biodiversity assessments, which require high levels of expertise. While eDNA analyses are increasingly being utilized, there remains considerable uncertainty regarding the dynamics of multispecies eDNA, especially in variable systems such as rivers. Here, we utilize four sets of upland stream mesocosms, across an acid–base gradient, to assess the temporal and environmental degradation of multispecies eDNA. Sampling included water column and biofilm sampling over time with eDNA quantified using qPCR. Our findings show that the persistence of lotic multispecies eDNA, sampled from water and biofilm, decays to non-detectable levels within 2 days and that acidic environments accelerate the degradation process. Collectively, the results provide the basis for a predictive framework for the relationship between lotic eDNA degradation dynamics in spatio-temporally dynamic river ecosystems.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
Water Resources (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2399-3642
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: ecological genetics, freshwater ecology
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 30 Jan 2018 17:40 +0 (UTC)

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