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DNA metabarcoding captures subtle differences in forest beetle communities following disturbance


Liu, M and Baker, SC and Burridge, CP and Jordan, GJ and Clarke, L, DNA metabarcoding captures subtle differences in forest beetle communities following disturbance, Restoration Ecology, 28, (6) pp. 1475-1484. ISSN 1061-2971 (2020) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2020 Society for Ecological Restoration

DOI: doi:10.1111/rec.13236


DNA metabarcoding is an emerging approach for monitoring biodiversity, but uncertainties remain about its capacity to detect subtle differences in invertebrate community composition comparable to those achievable based on conventional morphological identification. In this study, DNA metabarcoding and morphology-based approaches were compared as tools for investigating whether logging history impacted beetle communities in Tasmanian wet eucalypt forests. We compared 12 unlogged mature forest sites with 12 neighboring regeneration sites that had been logged approximately 55 years previously. The number of species identified based on morphology (173) was close to the number of zero-radius operational taxonomic units (ZOTUs) identified by DNA metabarcoding of cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI, 176) and 16S ribosomal RNA (16S, 156) markers. Subtle but significant differences in beetle species composition between regeneration and unlogged mature forests were captured by both morphology-based and COI DNA metabarcoding approaches, but not by 16S DNA metabarcoding. Our results support the suitability of mitochondrial COI for studying invertebrate biodiversity. A slight loss of signal compared to the morphology-based approach may be resolved by developing more comprehensive DNA reference databases. While confirming forest recovery of 48-58 years did not fully restore mature forest beetle communities, we suggest that DNA metabarcoding can be used for monitoring biodiversity and probing subtle differences in community composition.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:biodiversity monitoring, Coleoptera, cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI), forest restoration, high-throughput sequencing, metabarcoding, DNA metabarcoding, beetles, forest, conservation
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Genetics
Research Field:Genomics
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Liu, M (Mr Mingxin Liu)
UTAS Author:Baker, SC (Dr Sue Baker)
UTAS Author:Burridge, CP (Associate Professor Christopher Burridge)
UTAS Author:Jordan, GJ (Professor Greg Jordan)
UTAS Author:Clarke, L (Dr Laurence Clarke)
ID Code:141920
Year Published:2020
Funding Support:Australian Research Council (LP140100075)
Web of Science® Times Cited:1
Deposited By:Plant Science
Deposited On:2020-12-03
Last Modified:2021-03-16

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