You are here:
Integrating DNA-based data into bioassessments improves our understanding of species distributions and species habitat relationships
Meredith, C., J. Hoffman, A. Trebitz, Greg Peterson, J. Lietz, C. Hatzenbuhler, E. Pilgrim, S. Okum, AND J. Martinson. Integrating DNA-based data into bioassessments improves our understanding of species distributions and species habitat relationships. Midwest Invasive Species Conference, La Crosse, WI, October 16 - 19, 2016.
The integration of DNA-based identification methods into bioassessments could result in more accurate representations of species distributions and species-habitat relationships. DNA-based approaches may be particularly informative for tracking the distributions of rare and/or invasive species that can comprise a small proportion of samples or are difficult to identify morphologically. In 2012 and 2013, we used a combination of morphological and DNA-based methods (meta-barcoding) to identify fish eggs and larvae collected in the St. Louis River estuary area, Minnesota. We found a large proportion of cases where a lack of agreement occurred between species identified at a site using morphological versus DNA identification, prompting a discussion of how to best reconcile these differences. Choices made during sampling collection, DNA amplification/extraction, and bioinformatics processing influence the DNA-morphology match. The distribution of some species (including several invasives) and their relationships to habitat changed after DNA-data was incorporated. Results highlight how incorporating of DNA-data may get us closer to the “truth”, which has large ramifications in the search for rare species and when understanding the environmental drivers of species distributions is important for management.