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      Towards conserving natural diversity: A biotic inventory by observations, specimens, DNA barcoding and high-throughput sequencing methods

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          Abstract

          The Kenai National Wildlife Refuge has been given a broad conservation mandate to conserve natural diversity. A prerequisite for fulfilling this purpose is to be able to identify the species and communities that make up that biodiversity.We tested a set of varied methods for inventory and monitoring of plants, birds and terrestrial invertebrates on a grid of 40 sites in a 938 ha study area in the Slikok Creek watershed, Kenai Peninsula, Alaska. We sampled plants and lichens through observation and specimen-based methods. We surveyed birds using bird call surveys on variable circular plots. We sampled terrestrial arthropods by sweep net sampling, processing samples with High Throughput Sequencing methods. We surveyed for earthworms, using the hot mustard extraction method and identified worm specimens by morphology and DNA barcoding. We examined community membership using clustering methods and Nonmetric Multidimensional Scaling.We documented a total of 4,764 occurrences of 984 species and molecular operational taxonomic units: 87 vascular plants, 51 mosses, 12 liverworts, 111 lichens, 43 vertebrates, 663 arthropods, 9 molluscs and 8 annelid worms. Amongst these records, 102 of the arthropod species appeared to be new records for Alaska. We found three non-native species: Deroceras agreste (Linnaeus, 1758) (Stylommatophora: Agriolimacidae), Dendrobaena octaedra (Savigny, 1826) (Crassiclitellata: Lumbricidae) and Heterarthrus nemoratus (Fallén, 1808) (Hymenoptera: Tenthredinidae). Both D. octaedra and H. nemoratus were found at sites distant from obvious human disturbance. The 40 sites were grouped into five community groups: upland mixed forest, black spruce forest, open deciduous forest, shrub-sedge bog and willow.We demonstrated that, at least for a subset of species that could be detected using these methods, we were able to document current species distributions and assemblages in a way that could be efficiently repeated for the purposes of biomonitoring. While our methods could be improved and additional methods and groups could be added, our combination of techniques yielded a substantial portion of the data necessary for fulfilling Kenai National Wildlife Refuge's broad conservation purposes.

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          ESTIMATING SITE OCCUPANCY RATES WHEN DETECTION PROBABILITIES ARE LESS THAN ONE

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            Basic local alignment search tool

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              A new versatile primer set targeting a short fragment of the mitochondrial COI region for metabarcoding metazoan diversity: application for characterizing coral reef fish gut contents

              Introduction The PCR-based analysis of homologous genes has become one of the most powerful approaches for species detection and identification, particularly with the recent availability of Next Generation Sequencing platforms (NGS) making it possible to identify species composition from a broad range of environmental samples. Identifying species from these samples relies on the ability to match sequences with reference barcodes for taxonomic identification. Unfortunately, most studies of environmental samples have targeted ribosomal markers, despite the fact that the mitochondrial Cytochrome c Oxidase subunit I gene (COI) is by far the most widely available sequence region in public reference libraries. This is largely because the available versatile (“universal”) COI primers target the 658 barcoding region, whose size is considered too large for many NGS applications. Moreover, traditional barcoding primers are known to be poorly conserved across some taxonomic groups. Results We first design a new PCR primer within the highly variable mitochondrial COI region, the “mlCOIintF” primer. We then show that this newly designed forward primer combined with the “jgHCO2198” reverse primer to target a 313 bp fragment performs well across metazoan diversity, with higher success rates than versatile primer sets traditionally used for DNA barcoding (i.e. LCO1490/HCO2198). Finally, we demonstrate how the shorter COI fragment coupled with an efficient bioinformatics pipeline can be used to characterize species diversity from environmental samples by pyrosequencing. We examine the gut contents of three species of planktivorous and benthivorous coral reef fish (family: Apogonidae and Holocentridae). After the removal of dubious COI sequences, we obtained a total of 334 prey Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) belonging to 14 phyla from 16 fish guts. Of these, 52.5% matched a reference barcode (>98% sequence similarity) and an additional 32% could be assigned to a higher taxonomic level using Bayesian assignment. Conclusions The molecular analysis of gut contents targeting the 313 COI fragment using the newly designed mlCOIintF primer in combination with the jgHCO2198 primer offers enormous promise for metazoan metabarcoding studies. We believe that this primer set will be a valuable asset for a range of applications from large-scale biodiversity assessments to food web studies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biodiversity Data Journal
                BDJ
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2828
                1314-2836
                February 27 2020
                February 27 2020
                : 8
                Article
                10.3897/BDJ.8.e50124
                7058680
                32165853
                © 2020

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