Special Issue "Environmental DNA as a Rapid Forest Biodiversity Inventory Tool"

A special issue of Forests (ISSN 1999-4907). This special issue belongs to the section "Genetics and Molecular Biology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2023) | Viewed by 842

Special Issue Editor

Institut des Sciences de la Fôret tempérée, Université du Québec en Outaouais, Ripon, QC, Canada
Interests: environmental genomics; forest perturbations; biodiversity

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Forest ecosystems provide numerous services essential to human welfare such as fuel, building material, flood control, air and water purification and carbon sequestration, among others. However, the world’s forests are under increasing pressure due to anthropic activities, including urbanization, sylviculture, and intensive agriculture. More recently, climate change and the introduction of invasive pests and diseases are seriously threatening forest health. Forest ecosystem functioning, and associated ecosystem services, are highly dependent on forest biodiversity. It is thus of paramount importance to accurately describe and monitor forest biodiversity to predict the impact of human activities on forest functions. However, a major constraint on traditional large-scale biodiversity inventories is the need to identify species using morphological characteristics and laborious and time-consuming techniques. Even for experts, it can also be difficult to identify the different stages of certain species and to detect rare and/or cryptic species. In the last decade, the analysis of environmental DNA associated with high-throughput sequencing technologies has revolutionized the field of biodiversity research, particularly in aquatic ecosystems, but this has been more rarely applied to forest ecosystems. In this Special Issue, we welcome all studies aiming at studying forest ecosystems biodiversity using metabarcoding, to promote a more generalized usage of this promising technique and help the development of standardized protocols that are easily transferable across laboratories.

Dr. Yann Surget-Groba
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • forest biodiversity
  • environmental DNA
  • DNA metabarcoding
  • inventory methods
  • species identification
  • bulk sample analysis
  • long-term monitoring

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Research

Article
Vernal Pool Amphibian Inventories in the Temperate Forests of Eastern North America: Can Environmental DNA Replace the Traditional Methods?
Forests 2023, 14(10), 1930; https://doi.org/10.3390/f14101930 - 22 Sep 2023
Viewed by 301
Abstract
Amphibian populations have been globally declining since at least 1990. In the temperate forests of eastern North America, vernal pools offer important breeding habitats to many amphibians but are usually not considered for forest management because of their small size and temporary status. [...] Read more.
Amphibian populations have been globally declining since at least 1990. In the temperate forests of eastern North America, vernal pools offer important breeding habitats to many amphibians but are usually not considered for forest management because of their small size and temporary status. The effective monitoring and management of amphibians rely on accurate knowledge of their spatiotemporal distributions, which is often expensive to collect due to the amount of fieldwork required. In this study, we tested whether eDNA metabarcoding could identify the same amphibian communities as the traditional inventory protocols. We collected eDNA samples in twelve vernal pools in the spring of 2019 and identified their communities via metabarcoding. At each pool, three traditional amphibian inventory methods were used: call surveys, trapping, and active search surveys. In total, 13 amphibian species were detected, with most of them being detected using both eDNA and the traditional methods. When comparing the results of eDNA with the traditional methods, we found that species ecology and behavior are key factors of its detectability via a specific method. With its higher taxonomical precision and repeatability, eDNA metabarcoding allows for the inventorying of amphibian species living and reproducing in vernal pools and their vicinity with accuracy. As eDNA metabarcoding is inexpensive compared to the traditional methods, we conclude that eDNA sampling should be considered for integration as a standard monitoring tool, after an initial assessment of amphibian diversity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental DNA as a Rapid Forest Biodiversity Inventory Tool)
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