Estuarine molecular bycatch as a landscape-wide biomonitoring tool

Mariani, S ORCID:, Harper, LR, Collins, RA, Baillie, C, Wangensteen, OS, McDevitt, A ORCID:, Heddell-Cowie, M and Genner, MJ 2021, 'Estuarine molecular bycatch as a landscape-wide biomonitoring tool' , Biological Conservation, 261 , p. 109287.

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Access Information: This is the peer-reviewed and published article based upon an earlier, non-peer-reviewed pre-print paper which can be read here:


Environmental DNA analysis is rapidly transforming biodiversity monitoring and bolstering conservation applications worldwide. This approach has been assisted by the development of metabarcoding PCR primers that are suited for detection of a wide range of taxa. However, little effort has gone into exploring the value of the non-target DNA sequences that are generated in every survey, but subsequently discarded. Here we demonstrate that fish-targeted markers widely employed in aquatic biomonitoring can also detect birds and mammals present in the surrounding habitats. We showcase this feature in three temperate estuaries over multiple seasons, where dozens of bird and mammal species offer valuable insights into spatial and temporal faunal variation. Our results indicate that existing metabarcode sequence data sets are suitable for mining and exploration of this ‘molecular by-catch’, and that future eDNA-based surveys can be designed to accommodate this enhanced property of this widely applicable tool.

Item Type: Article
Schools: Schools > School of Environment and Life Sciences > Ecosystems and Environment Research Centre
Journal or Publication Title: Biological Conservation
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 0006-3207
Related URLs:
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Depositing User: Dr A McDevitt
Date Deposited: 25 Aug 2021 07:13
Last Modified: 13 Aug 2022 02:30

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