Kirse, Ameli Kim: Metabarcoding Invertebrate Communities in a Natural Park: From Methods to Diversity Patterns. - Bonn, 2021. - Dissertation, Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn.
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author = {{Ameli Kim Kirse}},
title = {Metabarcoding Invertebrate Communities in a Natural Park: From Methods to Diversity Patterns},
school = {Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn},
year = 2021,
month = feb,

note = {Biodiversity is worldwide suffering from a dramatic decline, whose underlying causes are still fairly unknown. The scientific investigation and identification of potential drivers of biodiversity loss are strongly hampered by the taxonomic impediment, which describes the shortage of taxonomic experts. As a result, studies dealing with changes in species communities usually only target a small set of taxa whereas the complex reciprocal relationships between taxa but also between the abiotic and biotic environment remain largely unresolved. By using Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) platforms it is now possible to assess unprecedented levels of biodiversity, allowing for the documentation of changes in species composition in a timely and cost-efficient manner.
The Caucasus region has been described to be one of the world’s biodiversity hotspots, although the full magnitude of existing biodiversity is still unknown, due to the poorly developed local scientific infrastructure. Here we show that metabarcoding of soil samples allows for the timely assessment of the enormous degree of local existing biodiversity, what enables the detection of changes in species communities triggered by changes of the environmental parameters, e.g. height. To our knowledge, this is the first metabarcoding study aiming to assess invertebrate diversity of the Georgian Caucasus region. As eDNA metabarcoding of soils is still to mature, little is known about best practice procedures. Here, technical variables including choice of primer and in-silico filter are evaluated for their suitability and efficiency to monitor species communities along an elevational gradient (Chapter I).
With ongoing scientific research, taxonomic resolution and sensitivity of molecular identification methods are continuously improving. In order to monitor the progress of ongoing renaturation measures in the Eifel National Park, Germany, changes in invertebrate community composition along a forest conversion gradient from non-native Norway spruce (Picea abies) to European beech (Fagus sylvatica) are documented. To capture a picture as complete as possible, species inhabiting the above ground habitat were sampled with Malaise traps (Chapter II) while ground dwelling organisms were captured by eDNA metabarcoding of soil samples (Chapter III). For both source materials important methodological considerations are discussed, comprising the evaluation of a new non-destructive DNA extraction method for bulk samples. Here it is shown that with a well-considered choice of marker, primer and source material, metabarcoding is a powerful tool for nature conservation purposes as it allows to monitor changes in biodiversity in a timely manner, enabling the identification of underlying causes of biodiversity loss.
Invertebrate communities are defined and influenced by a complex network of interrelations and mutual influences between local occurring species. By metabarcoding the two types of samples, soil and Malaise trap bulk samples a complex picture of species communities encompassing both, above and below ground biodiversity is achieved. Here, a time lagged overlap of species occurrence between the two strata is observed, highlighting the power of metabarcoding to uncover species biology and thereby reciprocal relationships between species and how species community dynamics are affected by conversation measures influencing the abiotic and biotic environment (Chapter IV).
This work contributes significantly to the development and refinement of metabarcoding approaches for the assessment of invertebrate diversity. In the future these methods will gain growing importance as the ongoing biodiversity loss remains strong making the identification of its driver to one of the most important tasks of current nature conversation research.},

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