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Elasmobranch diversity across a remote coral reef atoll revealed through environmental DNA metabarcoding

Dunn, Nicholas; Savolainen, Vincent; Weber, Sam; Andrzejaczek, Samantha; Carbone, Chris; Curnick, David; (2022) Elasmobranch diversity across a remote coral reef atoll revealed through environmental DNA metabarcoding. Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlac014. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

As elasmobranchs are becoming increasingly threatened, efficient methods for monitoring the distribution and diversity of elasmobranch populations are required. Environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding is a progressively applied technique that enables mass identification of entire communities and is an effective method for the detection of rare and elusive species. We performed an eDNA metabarcoding survey for fish communities around a coral reef atoll in the Chagos Archipelago (Central Indian Ocean) and assessed the diversity and distribution of elasmobranch species detected within these communities. Our eDNA survey detected 353 amplicon sequence variants (ASVs) attributed to fishes, 12 of which were elasmobranchs. There were no differences in fish communities based on the presence and absence of ASVs between sample depth (surface and 40 m) or sampling habitat, but communities based on read abundance were significantly different between habitats. The dominant elasmobranch species were grey reef (Carcharhinus amblyrhynchos) and silvertip (C. albimarginatus) sharks, and elasmobranch communities were significantly different between sampling depth and habitat. Overall, we find that eDNA metabarcoding can be used to reveal the diversity of elasmobranchs within broader taxonomic assays, but further research and development of targeted metabarcoding primers may be required before it can be integrated into a toolkit for monitoring these species.

Type: Article
Title: Elasmobranch diversity across a remote coral reef atoll revealed through environmental DNA metabarcoding
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/zoolinnean/zlac014
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1093/zoolinnean/zlac014
Language: English
Additional information: © 2022 The Linnean Society of London. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: barcoding, conservation genetics, eDNA metabarcoding, fish, marine, sharks
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences > Genetics, Evolution and Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences > Div of Biosciences
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10146967
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