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Title: Environmental DNA metabarcoding: Transforming how we survey animal and plant communities

The genomic revolution has fundamentally changed how we survey biodiversity on earth. High‐throughput sequencing (“HTS”) platforms now enable the rapid sequencing ofDNAfrom diverse kinds of environmental samples (termed “environmentalDNA” or “eDNA”). CouplingHTSwith our ability to associate sequences fromeDNAwith a taxonomic name is called “eDNAmetabarcoding” and offers a powerful molecular tool capable of noninvasively surveying species richness from many ecosystems. Here, we review the use ofeDNAmetabarcoding for surveying animal and plant richness, and the challenges in usingeDNAapproaches to estimate relative abundance. We highlighteDNAapplications in freshwater, marine and terrestrial environments, and in this broad context, we distill what is known about the ability of differenteDNAsample types to approximate richness in space and across time. We provide guiding questions for study design and discuss theeDNAmetabarcoding workflow with a focus on primers and library preparation methods. We additionally discuss important criteria for consideration of bioinformatic filtering of data sets, with recommendations for increasing transparency. Finally, looking to the future, we discuss emerging applications ofeDNAmetabarcoding in ecology, conservation, invasion biology, biomonitoring, and howeDNAmetabarcoding can empower citizen science and biodiversity education.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
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Publisher / Repository:
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Molecular Ecology
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 5872-5895
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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