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Quantification of marine benthic communities with metabarcoding
Klunder, L.; van Bleijswijk, J.D.L.; Kleine Schaars, L.; van der Veer, H.W.; Luttikhuizen, P.C.; Bijleveld, A. (2022). Quantification of marine benthic communities with metabarcoding. Mol. Ecol. Resour. 22(3): 1043-1054.
In: Molecular Ecology Resources. Blackwell Publishing: Oxford. ISSN 1755-098X; e-ISSN 1755-0998, more
Peer reviewed article  

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Author keywords
    abundance; biomass; eDNA; metabarcoding; next- generation sequencing; quantification

Authors  Top 
  • Klunder, L., more
  • van Bleijswijk, J.D.L., more
  • Kleine Schaars, L., more
  • van der Veer, H.W., more
  • Luttikhuizen, P.C., more
  • Bijleveld, A., more

    DNA metabarcoding methods have been implemented in studies aimed at detecting and quantifying marine benthic biodiversity. In such surveys, universal barcodes are amplified and sequenced from environmental DNA. To quantify biodiversity with DNA metabarcoding, a relation between the number of DNA sequences of a species and its biomass and/or the abundance is required. However, this relationship is complicated by many factors, and it is often unknown. In this study, we validate estimates of biomass and abundance from molecular approaches with those from the traditional morphological approach. Abundance and biomass were quantified from 126 samples of benthic intertidal mudflat using traditional morphological approaches and compared with frequency of occurrence and relative read abundance estimates from a molecular approach. A relationship between biomass and relative read abundance was found for two widely dispersed annelid taxa (Pygospio and Scoloplos). None of the other taxons, however, showed such a relationship. We discuss how quantification of abundance and biomass using molecular approaches are hampered by the ecology of DNA i.e. all the processes that determine the amount of DNA in the environment, including the ecology of the benthic species as well as the compositional nature of sequencing data.

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