Species-level biodiversity assessment using marine environmental DNA metabarcoding requires protocol optimization and standardization.
ABSTRACT: DNA extraction from environmental samples (environmental DNA; eDNA) for metabarcoding-based biodiversity studies is gaining popularity as a noninvasive, time-efficient, and cost-effective monitoring tool. The potential benefits are promising for marine conservation, as the marine biome is frequently under-surveyed due to its inaccessibility and the consequent high costs involved. With increasing numbers of eDNA-related publications have come a wide array of capture and extraction methods. Without visual species confirmation, inconsistent use of laboratory protocols hinders comparability between studies because the efficiency of target DNA isolation may vary. We determined an optimal protocol (capture and extraction) for marine eDNA research based on total DNA yield measurements by comparing commonly employed methods of seawater filtering and DNA isolation. We compared metabarcoding results of both targeted (small taxonomic group with species-level assignment) and universal (broad taxonomic group with genus/family-level assignment) approaches obtained from replicates treated with the optimal and a low-performance capture and extraction protocol to determine the impact of protocol choice and DNA yield on biodiversity detection. Filtration through cellulose-nitrate membranes and extraction with Qiagen's DNeasy Blood & Tissue Kit outperformed other combinations of capture and extraction methods, showing a ninefold improvement in DNA yield over the poorest performing methods. Use of optimized protocols resulted in a significant increase in OTU and species richness for targeted metabarcoding assays. However, changing protocols made little difference to the OTU and taxon richness obtained using universal metabarcoding assays. Our results demonstrate an increased risk of false-negative species detection for targeted eDNA approaches when protocols with poor DNA isolation efficacy are employed. Appropriate optimization is therefore essential for eDNA monitoring to remain a powerful, efficient, and relatively cheap method for biodiversity assessments. For seawater, we advocate filtration through cellulose-nitrate membranes and extraction with Qiagen's DNeasy Blood & Tissue Kit or phenol-chloroform-isoamyl for successful implementation of eDNA multi-marker metabarcoding surveys.
Project description:Environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques are gaining attention as cost-effective, non-invasive strategies for acquiring information on fish and other aquatic organisms from water samples. Currently, eDNA approaches are used to detect specific fish species and determine fish community diversity. Various protocols used with eDNA methods for aquatic organism detection have been reported in different eDNA studies, but there are no general recommendations for fish detection. Herein, we reviewed 168 papers to supplement and highlight the key criteria for each step of eDNA technology in fish detection and provide general suggestions for eliminating detection errors. Although there is no unified recommendation for the application of diverse eDNA in detecting fish species, in most cases, 1 or 2 L surface water collection and eDNA capture on 0.7-?m glass fiber filters followed by extraction with a DNeasy Blood and Tissue Kit or PowerWater DNA Isolation Kit are useful for obtaining high-quality eDNA. Subsequently, species-specific quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) assays based on mitochondrial cytochrome b gene markers or eDNA metabarcoding based on both 12S and 16S rRNA markers via high-throughput sequencing can effectively detect target DNA or estimate species richness. Furthermore, detection errors can be minimized by mitigating contamination, negative control, PCR replication, and using multiple genetic markers. Our aim is to provide a useful strategy for fish eDNA technology that can be applied by researchers, advisors, and managers.
Project description:Marine sediments contain a high diversity of micro- and macro-organisms which are important in the functioning of biogeochemical cycles. Traditionally, anthropogenic perturbation has been investigated by identifying macro-organism responses along gradients. Environmental DNA (eDNA) analyses have recently been advocated as a rapid and cost-effective approach to measuring ecological impacts and efforts are underway to incorporate eDNA tools into monitoring. Before these methods can replace or complement existing methods, robustness and repeatability of each analytical step has to be demonstrated. One area that requires further investigation is the selection of sediment DNA extraction method. Environmental DNA sediment samples were obtained along a disturbance gradient adjacent to a Chinook (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) salmon farm in Otanerau Bay, New Zealand. DNA was extracted using four extraction kits (Qiagen DNeasy PowerSoil, Qiagen DNeasy PowerSoil Pro, Qiagen RNeasy PowerSoil Total RNA/DNA extraction/elution and Favorgen FavorPrep Soil DNA Isolation Midi Kit) and three sediment volumes (0.25, 2, and 5 g). Prokaryotic and eukaryotic communities were amplified using primers targeting the 16S and 18S ribosomal RNA genes, respectively, and were sequenced on an Illumina MiSeq. Diversity and community composition estimates were obtained from each extraction kit, as well as their relative performance in established metabarcoding biotic indices. Differences were observed in the quality and quantity of the extracted DNA amongst kits with the two Qiagen DNeasy PowerSoil kits performing best. Significant differences were observed in both prokaryotes and eukaryotes (p < 0.001) richness among kits. A small proportion of amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) were shared amongst the kits (~3%) although these shared ASVs accounted for the majority of sequence reads (prokaryotes: 59.9%, eukaryotes: 67.2%). Differences were observed in the richness and relative abundance of taxonomic classes revealed with each kit. Multivariate analysis showed that there was a significant interaction between "distance" from the farm and "kit" in explaining the composition of the communities, with the distance from the farm being a stronger determinant of community composition. Comparison of the kits against the bacterial and eukaryotic metabarcoding biotic index suggested that all kits showed similar patterns along the environmental gradient. Overall, we advocate for the use of Qiagen DNeasy PowerSoil kits for use when characterizing prokaryotic and eukaryotic eDNA from marine farm sediments. We base this conclusion on the higher DNA quality values and richness achieved with these kits compared to the other kits/amounts investigated in this study. The additional advantage of the PowerSoil Kits is that DNA extractions can be performed using an extractor robot, offering additional standardization and reproducibility of results.
Project description:Effective marine management requires comprehensive data on the status of marine biodiversity. However, efficient methods that can document biodiversity in our oceans are currently lacking. Environmental DNA (eDNA) sourced from seawater offers a new avenue for investigating the biota in marine ecosystems. Here, we investigated the potential of eDNA to inform on the breadth of biodiversity present in a tropical marine environment. Directly sequencing eDNA from seawater using a shotgun approach resulted in only 0.34% of 22.3 million reads assigning to eukaryotes, highlighting the inefficiency of this method for assessing eukaryotic diversity. In contrast, using 'tree of life' (ToL) metabarcoding and 20-fold fewer sequencing reads, we could detect 287 families across the major divisions of eukaryotes. Our data also show that the best performing 'universal' PCR assay recovered only 44% of the eukaryotes identified across all assays, highlighting the need for multiple metabarcoding assays to catalogue biodiversity. Lastly, focusing on the fish genus Lethrinus, we recovered intra- and inter-specific haplotypes from seawater samples, illustrating that eDNA can be used to explore diversity beyond taxon identifications. Given the sensitivity and low cost of eDNA metabarcoding we advocate this approach be rapidly integrated into biomonitoring programs.
Project description:Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding is an increasingly popular method for rapid biodiversity assessment. As with any ecological survey, false negatives can arise during sampling and, if unaccounted for, lead to biased results and potentially misdiagnosed environmental assessments. We developed a multi-scale, multi-species occupancy model for the analysis of community biodiversity data resulting from eDNA metabarcoding; this model accounts for imperfect detection and additional sources of environmental and experimental variation. We present methods for model assessment and model comparison and demonstrate how these tools improve the inferential power of eDNA metabarcoding data using a case study in a coastal, marine environment. Using occupancy models to account for factors often overlooked in the analysis of eDNA metabarcoding data will dramatically improve ecological inference, sampling design, and methodologies, empowering practitioners with an approach to wield the high-resolution biodiversity data of next-generation sequencing platforms.
Project description:Zooplankton dominate the abundance and biomass of multicellular animals in pelagic marine environments; however, traditional methods to characterize zooplankton communities are invasive and laborious. This study compares zooplankton taxonomic composition revealed through metabarcoding of the cytochrome oxidase I (COI) and 18S rRNA genes to traditional morphological identification by microscopy. Triplicates of three different sample types were collected from three coral reef sites in the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary: (1) 1 L surface seawater samples prefiltered through 3 ?m filters and subsequently collected on 0.22 ?m filters for eDNA (PF-eDNA); (2) 1 L surface seawater samples filtered on 0.22 ?m pore-size filters (environmental DNA; eDNA), and (3) zooplankton tissue samples from 64 ?m, 200 ?m, and 500 ?m mesh size net tows. The zooplankton tissue samples were split, with half identified morphologically and tissue DNA (T-DNA) extracted from the other half. The COI and 18S rRNA gene metabarcoding of PF-eDNA, eDNA, and T-DNA samples was performed using Illumina MiSeq. Of the families detected with COI and 18S rRNA gene metabarcoding, 40% and 32%, respectively, were also identified through morphological assessments. Significant differences in taxonomic composition were observed between PF-DNA, eDNA, and T-DNA with both genetic markers. PF-eDNA resulted in detection of fewer taxa than the other two sample types; thus, prefiltering is not recommended. All dominant copepod taxa (> 5% of total abundance) were detected with eDNA, T-DNA, and morphological assessments, demonstrating that eDNA metabarcoding is a promising technique for future biodiversity assessments of pelagic zooplankton in marine systems.
Project description:Conservation and management of marine biodiversity depends on biomonitoring of marine habitats, but current approaches are resource-intensive and require different approaches for different organisms. Environmental DNA (eDNA) extracted from water samples is an efficient and versatile approach to detecting aquatic animals. In the ocean, eDNA composition reflects local fauna at fine spatial scales, but little is known about the effectiveness of eDNA-based monitoring of marine communities at larger scales. We investigated the potential of eDNA to characterize and distinguish marine communities at large spatial scales by comparing vertebrate species composition among marine habitats in Qatar, the Arabian Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf), based on eDNA metabarcoding of seawater samples. We conducted species accumulation analyses to estimate how much of the vertebrate diversity we detected. We obtained eDNA sequences from a diverse assemblage of marine vertebrates, spanning 191 taxa in 73 families. These included rare and endangered species and covered 36% of the bony fish genera previously recorded in the Gulf. Sites of similar habitat type were also similar in eDNA composition. The species accumulation analyses showed that the number of sample replicates was insufficient for some sampling sites but suggested that a few hundred eDNA samples could potentially capture >90% of the marine vertebrate diversity in the study area. Our results confirm that seawater samples contain habitat-characteristic molecular signatures and that eDNA monitoring can efficiently cover vertebrate diversity at scales relevant to national and regional conservation and management.
Project description:Environmental DNA (eDNA) is usually defined as genetic material obtained directly from environmental samples, such as soil, water, or ice. Coupled to DNA metabarcoding, eDNA is a powerful tool in biodiversity assessments. Results from eDNA approach provided valuable insights to the studies of past and contemporary biodiversity in terrestrial and aquatic environments. However, the state and fate of eDNA are still investigated and the knowledge about the form of eDNA (i.e., extracellular vs. intracellular) or the DNA degradation under different environmental conditions is limited. Here, we tackle this issue by analyzing foraminiferal sedimentary DNA (sedDNA) from different size fractions of marine sediments: >500?µm, 500-100?µm, 100-63?µm, and < 63?µm. Surface sediment samples were collected at 15 sampling stations located in the Svalbard archipelago. Sequences of the foraminifera-specific 37f region were generated using Illumina technology. The presented data may be used as a reference for a wide range of eDNA-based studies, including biomonitoring and biodiversity assessments across time and space.
Project description:Molecular analysis of environmental DNA (eDNA) can be used to assess vertebrate biodiversity in aquatic systems, but limited work has applied eDNA technologies to marine waters. Further, there is limited understanding of the spatial distribution of vertebrate eDNA in marine waters. Here, we use an eDNA metabarcoding approach to target and amplify a hypervariable region of the mitochondrial 12S rRNA gene to characterize vertebrate communities at 10 oceanographic stations spanning 45 km within the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary (MBNMS). In this study, we collected three biological replicates of small volume water samples (1 L) at 2 depths at each of the 10 stations. We amplified fish mitochondrial DNA using a universal primer set. We obtained 5,644,299 high quality Illumina sequence reads from the environmental samples. The sequence reads were annotated to the lowest taxonomic assignment using a bioinformatics pipeline. The eDNA survey identified, to the lowest taxonomic rank, 7 families, 3 subfamilies, 10 genera, and 72 species of vertebrates at the study sites. These 92 distinct taxa come from 33 unique marine vertebrate families. We observed significantly different vertebrate community composition between sampling depths (0 m and 20/40 m deep) across all stations and significantly different communities at stations located on the continental shelf (<200 m bottom depth) versus in the deeper waters of the canyons of Monterey Bay (>200 m bottom depth). All but 1 family identified using eDNA metabarcoding is known to occur in MBNMS. The study informs the implementation of eDNA metabarcoding for vertebrate biomonitoring.
Project description:Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding has emerged as a potentially powerful tool to assess aquatic community structures. However, the method has hitherto lacked field tests that evaluate its effectiveness and practical properties as a biodiversity monitoring tool. Here, we evaluated the ability of eDNA metabarcoding to reveal fish community structures in species-rich coastal waters. High-performance fish-universal primers and systematic spatial water sampling at 47 stations covering ~11?km2 revealed the fish community structure at a species resolution. The eDNA metabarcoding based on a 6-h collection of water samples detected 128 fish species, of which 62.5% (40 species) were also observed by underwater visual censuses conducted over a 14-year period. This method also detected other local fishes (?23 species) that were not observed by the visual censuses. These eDNA metabarcoding features will enhance marine ecosystem-related research, and the method will potentially become a standard tool for surveying fish communities.
Project description:Marine ecosystems worldwide are under threat with many fish species and populations suffering from human over-exploitation. This is greatly impacting global biodiversity, economy and human health. Intriguingly, marine fish are largely surveyed using selective and invasive methods, which are mostly limited to commercial species, and restricted to particular areas with favourable conditions. Furthermore, misidentification of species represents a major problem. Here, we investigate the potential of using metabarcoding of environmental DNA (eDNA) obtained directly from seawater samples to account for marine fish biodiversity. This eDNA approach has recently been used successfully in freshwater environments, but never in marine settings. We isolate eDNA from ½-litre seawater samples collected in a temperate marine ecosystem in Denmark. Using next-generation DNA sequencing of PCR amplicons, we obtain eDNA from 15 different fish species, including both important consumption species, as well as species rarely or never recorded by conventional monitoring. We also detect eDNA from a rare vagrant species in the area; European pilchard (Sardina pilchardus). Additionally, we detect four bird species. Records in national databases confirmed the occurrence of all detected species. To investigate the efficiency of the eDNA approach, we compared its performance with 9 methods conventionally used in marine fish surveys. Promisingly, eDNA covered the fish diversity better than or equal to any of the applied conventional methods. Our study demonstrates that even small samples of seawater contain eDNA from a wide range of local fish species. Finally, in order to examine the potential dispersal of eDNA in oceans, we performed an experiment addressing eDNA degradation in seawater, which shows that even small (100-bp) eDNA fragments degrades beyond detectability within days. Although further studies are needed to validate the eDNA approach in varying environmental conditions, our findings provide a strong proof-of-concept with great perspectives for future monitoring of marine biodiversity and resources.