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      Assessing pollution of aquatic environments with diatoms’ DNA metabarcoding: experience and developments from France water framework directive networks

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      Metabarcoding and Metagenomics

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Ecological status assessment of watercourses is based on the calculation of quality indices using pollution sensitivity of targeted biological groups, including diatoms. The determination and quantification of diatom species is generally based on microscopic morphological identification, which requires expertise and is time-consuming and costly. In Europe, this morphological approach is legally imposed by standards and regulatory decrees by the Water Framework Directive (WFD). Over the past decade, a DNA-based molecular biology approach has newly been developed to identify species based on genetic criteria rather than morphological ones (i.e. DNA metabarcoding). In combination with high throughput sequencing technologies, metabarcoding makes it possible both to identify all species present in an environmental sample and to process several hundred samples in parallel. This article presents the results of two recent studies carried out on the WFD networks of rivers of Mayotte (2013–2018) and metropolitan France (2016–2018). These studies aimed at testing the potential application of metabarcoding for biomonitoring in the context of the WFD. We discuss the various methodological developments and optimisations that have been made to make the taxonomic inventories of diatoms produced by metabarcoding more reliable, particularly in terms of species quantification. We present the results of the application of this DNA approach on more than 500 river sites, comparing them with those obtained using the standardised morphological method. Finally, we discuss the potential of metabarcoding for routine application, its limits of application and propose some recommendations for future implementation in WFD.

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          Most cited references 49

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          Environmental DNA metabarcoding: Transforming how we survey animal and plant communities

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            Architecture and material properties of diatom shells provide effective mechanical protection.

            Diatoms are the major contributors to phytoplankton blooms in lakes and in the sea and hence are central in aquatic ecosystems and the global carbon cycle. All free-living diatoms differ from other phytoplankton groups in having silicified cell walls in the form of two 'shells' (the frustule) of manifold shape and intricate architecture whose function and role, if any, in contributing to the evolutionary success of diatoms is under debate. We explored the defence potential of the frustules as armour against predators by measuring their strength. Real and virtual loading tests (using calibrated glass microneedles and finite element analysis) were performed on centric and pennate diatom cells. Here we show that the frustules are remarkably strong by virtue of their architecture and the material properties of the diatom silica. We conclude that diatom frustules have evolved as mechanical protection for the cells because exceptional force is required to break them. The evolutionary arms race between diatoms and their specialized predators will have had considerable influence in structuring pelagic food webs and biogeochemical cycles.
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              Quantification of mesocosm fish and amphibian species diversity via environmental DNA metabarcoding

              Abstract Freshwater fauna are particularly sensitive to environmental change and disturbance. Management agencies frequently use fish and amphibian biodiversity as indicators of ecosystem health and a way to prioritize and assess management strategies. Traditional aquatic bioassessment that relies on capture of organisms via nets, traps and electrofishing gear typically has low detection probabilities for rare species and can injure individuals of protected species. Our objective was to determine whether environmental DNA (eDNA) sampling and metabarcoding analysis can be used to accurately measure species diversity in aquatic assemblages with differing structures. We manipulated the density and relative abundance of eight fish and one amphibian species in replicated 206‐L mesocosms. Environmental DNA was filtered from water samples, and six mitochondrial gene fragments were Illumina‐sequenced to measure species diversity in each mesocosm. Metabarcoding detected all nine species in all treatment replicates. Additionally, we found a modest, but positive relationship between species abundance and sequencing read abundance. Our results illustrate the potential for eDNA sampling and metabarcoding approaches to improve quantification of aquatic species diversity in natural environments and point the way towards using eDNA metabarcoding as an index of macrofaunal species abundance.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Metabarcoding and Metagenomics
                MBMG
                Pensoft Publishers
                2534-9708
                November 06 2019
                November 06 2019
                : 3
                Article
                10.3897/mbmg.3.39646
                © 2019

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