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Trends Ecol Evol. 2018 Dec;33(12):945-957. doi: 10.1016/j.tree.2018.09.003. Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Environmental DNA Time Series in Ecology.

Author information

1
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany; LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (LOEWE-TBG), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany. Electronic address: mbalint@senckenberg.de.
2
Senckenberg Biodiversity and Climate Research Centre, Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany; LOEWE Centre for Translational Biodiversity Genomics (LOEWE-TBG), Senckenberganlage 25, 60325 Frankfurt, Germany.
3
Department of Experimental Limnology, Leibniz Institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries (IGB), Alte Fischerhuette 2, D-16775 Stechlin, Germany; Institute for Biochemistry and Biology, Potsdam University, Maulbeerallee 2, D-14469 Potsdam, Germany.
4
Laboratoire d'Ecologie Alpine (LECA), CNRS, Université Grenoble Alpes, CS 40700 38058 Grenoble Cedex 9, France.
5
Département de Biologie, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Québec, J1K 2R1, Canada.
6
Department of Biology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.
7
Department of Ecology and Environmental Science, Umeå University, S-90187 Umeå, Sweden.
8
Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA), 7485 Trondheim, Norway.

Abstract

Ecological communities change in time and space, but long-term dynamics at the century-to-millennia scale are poorly documented due to lack of relevant data sets. Nevertheless, understanding long-term dynamics is important for explaining present-day biodiversity patterns and placing conservation goals in a historical context. Here, we use recent examples and new perspectives to highlight how environmental DNA (eDNA) is starting to provide a powerful new source of temporal data for research questions that have so far been overlooked, by helping to resolve the ecological dynamics of populations, communities, and ecosystems over hundreds to thousands of years. We give examples of hypotheses that may be addressed by temporal eDNA biodiversity data, discuss possible research directions, and outline related challenges.

KEYWORDS:

biodiversity dynamics; eDNA metabarcoding; global change; historic data; human impact; temporal ecology

PMID:
30314916
DOI:
10.1016/j.tree.2018.09.003

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