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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 688:99-112 (2022)  -  DOI:

Small-scale heterogeneity of fish diversity evaluated by environmental DNA analysis in eelgrass beds

Kyosuke Momota1,2,*, Shinya Hosokawa2, Takashi Komuro2

1Central Laboratory, Marine Ecology Research Institute, Iwawada, Onjuku, Isumi, Chiba 299-5105, Japan
2Port and Airport Research Institute, Nagase, Yokosuka, Kanagawa 239-0826, Japan
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Seagrass beds are a target for conservation worldwide and are frequently the focus of bioassessment and biomonitoring surveys. However, these surveys often employ destructive methods and involve considerable effort and cost. Recently, environmental DNA (eDNA) techniques have been attracting attention as a low-impact alternative for evaluating species diversity. However, the relationship between the detection ability of eDNA metabarcoding and the ecology of the organisms from which eDNA is derived has not been explicitly investigated. In this study, we examined this relationship for fishes in 2 eelgrass Zostera marina beds in temperate Japan, with a focus on 2 ecological characteristics (swimming position and appearance frequency in seagrass beds). We used eDNA metabarcoding to identify fish DNA collected from seawater samples and compared species inventories between 2 sampling positions (within vs. above eelgrass meadows) and 2 survey methods (eDNA vs. sledge-net sampling). Our results show that eDNA metabarcoding is much more effective than sledge-net sampling in detecting fish species, and that the detection ability of eDNA metabarcoding differs with water-sampling position. In particular, the relationship between fish ecology and survey detection ability appears to differ between the 2 eelgrass beds. Our results indicate that prior consideration of the spatial structure and fish communities of eelgrass beds is necessary for a reliable estimation of fish diversity in vegetated marine habitats.

KEY WORDS: eDNA · Metabarcoding · Biodiversity · Seagrass bed · Fish communities · Bioassessment · Biomonitoring · Water sampling

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Cite this article as: Momota K, Hosokawa S, Komuro T (2022) Small-scale heterogeneity of fish diversity evaluated by environmental DNA analysis in eelgrass beds. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 688:99-112.

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