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Data from: Estimating species richness using environmental DNA

Cite this dataset

Olds, Brett P. et al. (2017). Data from: Estimating species richness using environmental DNA [Dataset]. Dryad.


The foundation for any ecological study and the for effective management of biodiversity in natural systems requires knowing what species are present in an ecosystem. We assessed fish communities in a stream using two methods, depletion-based electrofishing and environmental DNA metabarcoding (eDNA) from water samples, to test the hypothesis that eDNA provides an alternative means of determining species richness and species identities for a natural ecosystem. In a northern Indiana stream, electrofishing yielded a direct estimate of 12 species and a mean estimated richness (Chao II estimator) of 16.6 species with a 95% confidence interval from 12.8 to 42.2. eDNA sampling detected an additional four species, congruent with the mean Chao II estimate from electrofishing. This increased detection rate for fish species between methods suggests that eDNA sampling can enhance estimation of fish fauna in flowing waters while having minimal sampling impacts on fish and their habitat. Modern genetic approaches therefore have the potential to transform our ability to build a more complete list of species for ecological investigations and inform management of aquatic ecosystems.

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