Data from: Unlocking biodiversity and conservation studies in high‐diversity environments using environmental DNA (eDNA): a test with Guianese freshwater fishes
Cilleros, Kévin et al. (2018), Data from: Unlocking biodiversity and conservation studies in high‐diversity environments using environmental DNA (eDNA): a test with Guianese freshwater fishes, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.dc25730
Determining the species compositions of local assemblages is a prerequisite to understanding how anthropogenic disturbances affect biodiversity. However, biodiversity measurements often remain incomplete due to the limited efficiency of sampling methods. This is particularly true in freshwater tropical environments that host rich fish assemblages, for which assessments are uncertain and often rely on destructive methods. Developing an efficient and non-destructive method to assess biodiversity in tropical freshwaters is highly important. In this study, we tested the efficiency of environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding to assess the fish diversity of 39 Guianese sites. We compared the diversity and composition of assemblages obtained using traditional and metabarcoding methods. More than 7,000 individual fish belonging to 203 Guianese fish species were collected by traditional sampling methods, and ~17 million reads were produced by metabarcoding, among which ~8 million reads were assigned to 148 fish taxonomic units, including 132 fish species. The two methods detected a similar number of species at each site, but the species identities partially matched. The assemblage compositions from the different drainage basins were better discriminated using metabarcoding, revealing that while traditional methods provide a more complete but spatially limited inventory of fish assemblages, metabarcoding provides a more partial but spatially extensive inventory. eDNA metabarcoding can therefore be used for rapid and large-scale biodiversity assessments, while at a local scale, the two approaches are complementary and enable an understanding of realistic fish biodiversity.