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Mol Ecol Resour. 2018 Nov;18(6):1282-1298. doi: 10.1111/1755-0998.12912. Epub 2018 Jul 5.

Debugging diversity - a pan-continental exploration of the potential of terrestrial blood-feeding leeches as a vertebrate monitoring tool.

Author information

1
Section for EvoGenomics, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
2
Center for Zoo and Wild Animal Health, Copenhagen Zoo, Frederiksberg, Denmark.
3
School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK.
4
Trace and Environmental DNA Laboratory, Department of Environment and Agriculture, Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia, Australia.
5
Greenland Institute of Natural Resources, Nuuk, Greenland.
6
Department of Life Sciences, The Natural History Museum, London, UK.
7
Cefas, Weymouth, Dorset, UK.
8
Centre ValBio, Ranomafana, Ifanadiana, Fianarantsoa, Madagascar.
9
Centre for Tropical Environmental and Sustainability Science (TESS) and College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Cairns, Queensland, Australia.
10
Association Mitsinjo, Andasibe, Madagascar.
11
Department of Animal and Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, UK.
12
Wildlife Alliance, Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
13
WWF Vietnam, Hue City, Thua Thien Hue, Vietnam.
14
Centre for Rainforest Studies at the School for Field Studies, Yungaburra, Queensland, Australia.
15
Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Centre for Medical Parasitology, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark.
16
The Peregrine Fund, Antananarivo, Madagascar.
17
Division of Invertebrate Zoology, Sackler Institute of Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York.
18
Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research, Berlin, Germany.
19
Global Wildlife Conservation, Austin, Texas.
20
Department of Geography, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
21
School of Biology, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK.
22
State Key Laboratory of Genetic Resources and Evolution, Kunming Institute of Zoology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming, China.
23
NTNU University Museum, Trondheim, Norway.

Abstract

The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) has become an applicable noninvasive tool with which to obtain information about biodiversity. A subdiscipline of eDNA is iDNA (invertebrate-derived DNA), where genetic material ingested by invertebrates is used to characterize the biodiversity of the species that served as hosts. While promising, these techniques are still in their infancy, as they have only been explored on limited numbers of samples from only a single or a few different locations. In this study, we investigate the suitability of iDNA extracted from more than 3,000 haematophagous terrestrial leeches as a tool for detecting a wide range of terrestrial vertebrates across five different geographical regions on three different continents. These regions cover almost the full geographical range of haematophagous terrestrial leeches, thus representing all parts of the world where this method might apply. We identify host taxa through metabarcoding coupled with high-throughput sequencing on Illumina and IonTorrent sequencing platforms to decrease economic costs and workload and thereby make the approach attractive for practitioners in conservation management. We identified hosts in four different taxonomic vertebrate classes: mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians, belonging to at least 42 different taxonomic families. We find that vertebrate blood ingested by haematophagous terrestrial leeches throughout their distribution is a viable source of DNA with which to examine a wide range of vertebrates. Thus, this study provides encouraging support for the potential of haematophagous terrestrial leeches as a tool for detecting and monitoring terrestrial vertebrate biodiversity.

KEYWORDS:

high-throughput sequencing; iDNA; metabarcoding; terrestrial haematophagous leeches; vertebrate diversity; vertebrate monitoring

PMID:
29877042
DOI:
10.1111/1755-0998.12912
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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