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Data from: Large-scale biomonitoring of remote and threatened ecosystems via high-throughput sequencing

Citation

Gibson, Joel F. et al. (2016), Data from: Large-scale biomonitoring of remote and threatened ecosystems via high-throughput sequencing, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.vm72v

Abstract

Biodiversity metrics are critical for assessment and monitoring of ecosystems threatened by anthropogenic stressors. Existing sorting and identification methods are too expensive and labour-intensive to be scaled up to meet management needs. Alternately, a high-throughput DNA sequencing approach could be used to determine biodiversity metrics from bulk environmental samples collected as part of a large-scale biomonitoring program. Here we show that both morphological and DNA sequence-based analyses are suitable for recovery of individual taxonomic richness, estimation of proportional abundance, and calculation of biodiversity metrics using a set of 24 benthic samples collected in the Peace-Athabasca Delta region of Canada. The high-throughput sequencing approach was able to recover all metrics with a higher degree of taxonomic resolution than morphological analysis. The reduced cost and increased capacity of DNA sequence-based approaches will finally allow environmental monitoring programs to operate at the geographical and temporal scale required by industrial and regulatory end-users.

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