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      Reconstructing long-term human impacts on plant communities: an ecological approach based on lake sediment DNA

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          Catastrophic shifts in ecosystems.

          All ecosystems are exposed to gradual changes in climate, nutrient loading, habitat fragmentation or biotic exploitation. Nature is usually assumed to respond to gradual change in a smooth way. However, studies on lakes, coral reefs, oceans, forests and arid lands have shown that smooth change can be interrupted by sudden drastic switches to a contrasting state. Although diverse events can trigger such shifts, recent studies show that a loss of resilience usually paves the way for a switch to an alternative state. This suggests that strategies for sustainable management of such ecosystems should focus on maintaining resilience.
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            Geology of mankind.

             P J Crutzen (2002)
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              Towards next-generation biodiversity assessment using DNA metabarcoding.

              Virtually all empirical ecological studies require species identification during data collection. DNA metabarcoding refers to the automated identification of multiple species from a single bulk sample containing entire organisms or from a single environmental sample containing degraded DNA (soil, water, faeces, etc.). It can be implemented for both modern and ancient environmental samples. The availability of next-generation sequencing platforms and the ecologists' need for high-throughput taxon identification have facilitated the emergence of DNA metabarcoding. The potential power of DNA metabarcoding as it is implemented today is limited mainly by its dependency on PCR and by the considerable investment needed to build comprehensive taxonomic reference libraries. Further developments associated with the impressive progress in DNA sequencing will eliminate the currently required DNA amplification step, and comprehensive taxonomic reference libraries composed of whole organellar genomes and repetitive ribosomal nuclear DNA can be built based on the well-curated DNA extract collections maintained by standardized barcoding initiatives. The near-term future of DNA metabarcoding has an enormous potential to boost data acquisition in biodiversity research. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Molecular Ecology
                Mol Ecol
                Wiley-Blackwell
                09621083
                April 2015
                April 2015
                : 24
                : 7
                : 1485-1498
                Article
                10.1111/mec.13136
                25735209
                © 2015
                Product
                Self URI (article page): http://doi.wiley.com/10.1111/mec.13136

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