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A practical guide to DNA metabarcoding for entomological ecologists


Liu, M and Clarke, LJ and Baker, SC and Jordan, GJ and Burridge, CP, A practical guide to DNA metabarcoding for entomological ecologists, Ecological Entomology, 45, (3) pp. 373-385. ISSN 0307-6946 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2019 The Royal Entomological Society

DOI: doi:10.1111/een.12831


1. DNA metabarcoding is a cost‐effective species identification approach with great potential to assist entomological ecologists. This review presents a practical guide to help entomological ecologists design their own DNA metabarcoding studies and ensure that sound ecological conclusions can be obtained.

2. The review considers approaches to field sampling, laboratory work, and bioinformatic analyses, with the aim of providing the background knowledge needed to make decisions at each step of a DNA metabarcoding workflow.

3. Although most conventional sampling methods can be adapted to DNA metabarcoding, this review highlights techniques that will ensure suitable DNA preservation during field sampling and laboratory storage. The review also calls for a greater understanding of the occurrence, transportation, and deposition of environmental DNA when applying DNA metabarcoding approaches for different ecosystems.

4. Accurate species detection with DNA metabarcoding needs to consider biases introduced during DNA extraction and PCR amplification, cross‐contamination resulting from inappropriate amplicon library preparation, and downstream bioinformatic analyses. Quantifying species abundance with DNA metabarcoding is in its infancy, yet recent studies demonstrate promise for estimating relative species abundance from DNA sequencing reads.

5. Given that bioinformatics is one of the biggest hurdles for researchers new to DNA metabarcoding, several useful graphical user interface programs are recommended for sequence data processing, and the application of emerging sequencing technologies is discussed.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:beetles, biodiversity monitoring, DNA preservation, ecological inferences, environmental DNA, high-throughput sequencing, invertebrates, metabarcoding
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Terrestrial ecology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Liu, M (Mr Mingxin Liu)
UTAS Author:Clarke, LJ (Dr Laurence Clarke)
UTAS Author:Baker, SC (Associate Professor Sue Baker)
UTAS Author:Jordan, GJ (Professor Greg Jordan)
UTAS Author:Burridge, CP (Associate Professor Christopher Burridge)
ID Code:140026
Year Published:2020
Web of Science® Times Cited:43
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2020-07-22
Last Modified:2022-08-29

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