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Fishing eDNA in One of the World’s Largest Rivers: A Case Study of Cross-Sectional and Depth Profile Sampling in the Yangtze


Zhang, Yan; Zhang, Xiaowei; Li, Feilong; Altermatt, Florian (2023). Fishing eDNA in One of the World’s Largest Rivers: A Case Study of Cross-Sectional and Depth Profile Sampling in the Yangtze. Environmental Science & Technology, 57(51):21691-21703.

Abstract

The world’s largest rivers are home to diverse, endemic, and threatened fish species. However, their sheer sizes make large-scale
biomonitoring challenging. While environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding has become an established monitoring approach in smaller freshwater ecosystems, its suitability for large rivers may be challenged by the sheer extent of their cross sections (>1 km wide and tens of meters deep). Here, we sampled fish eDNA from multiple vertical layers and horizontal locations from two cross sections of the lower reach of the Yangtze River in China. Over half of the ASVs (amplicon sequence variants) were detected in only a single combination of the
vertical layers and horizontal locations, with ∼7% across all combinations. We estimated the need to sample >100 L of water across the cross-sectional profiles to achieve ASV richness saturation, which translates to ∼60 L of water at the species level. No consistent pattern emerged for prioritizing certain depth and horizontal samples, yet we underline the importance of sampling and integrating different layers and locations simultaneously. Our study highlights the significance of spatially stratified sampling and sampling volumes when using eDNA approaches. Specifically, we developed and tested a scalable and broadly applicable strategy that advances the monitoring and conservation of large rivers.

Abstract

The world’s largest rivers are home to diverse, endemic, and threatened fish species. However, their sheer sizes make large-scale
biomonitoring challenging. While environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding has become an established monitoring approach in smaller freshwater ecosystems, its suitability for large rivers may be challenged by the sheer extent of their cross sections (>1 km wide and tens of meters deep). Here, we sampled fish eDNA from multiple vertical layers and horizontal locations from two cross sections of the lower reach of the Yangtze River in China. Over half of the ASVs (amplicon sequence variants) were detected in only a single combination of the
vertical layers and horizontal locations, with ∼7% across all combinations. We estimated the need to sample >100 L of water across the cross-sectional profiles to achieve ASV richness saturation, which translates to ∼60 L of water at the species level. No consistent pattern emerged for prioritizing certain depth and horizontal samples, yet we underline the importance of sampling and integrating different layers and locations simultaneously. Our study highlights the significance of spatially stratified sampling and sampling volumes when using eDNA approaches. Specifically, we developed and tested a scalable and broadly applicable strategy that advances the monitoring and conservation of large rivers.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
08 Research Priority Programs > Global Change and Biodiversity
Dewey Decimal Classification:590 Animals (Zoology)
570 Life sciences; biology
Scopus Subject Areas:Physical Sciences > General Chemistry
Physical Sciences > Environmental Chemistry
Uncontrolled Keywords:Environmental Chemistry, General Chemistry
Language:English
Date:26 December 2023
Deposited On:12 Jan 2024 11:20
Last Modified:30 Jun 2024 01:36
Publisher:American Chemical Society (ACS)
ISSN:0013-936X
OA Status:Closed
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.3c03890
PubMed ID:37878726
Project Information: