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Measuring global fish species richness with eDNA metabarcoding

Jerde, Christopher L., Wilson, Emily A., Dressler, Terra L.
Molecular ecology resources 2019 v.19 no.1 pp. 19-22
DNA, DNA barcoding, bioinformatics, climate change, fish, fisheries, freshwater, habitat destruction, high-throughput nucleotide sequencing, invasive species, pollution, species richness, French Guiana
Despite mounting threats to global freshwater and marine biodiversity, including climate change, habitat alteration, overharvesting and pollution, we struggle to know which species are present below the water's surface that are suffering from these stressors. However, the idea that a water sample containing environmental DNA (eDNA) can be screened using high‐throughput sequencing and bioinformatics to reveal the identity of aquatic species is a revolutionary advance for studying the patterns of species extirpation, invasive species establishment and the dynamics of species richness. To date, many of the critical tests of fisheries diversity using this metabarcoding approach have been conducted in lower diversity systems (<40 fish species), but in this issue of Molecular Ecology Resources, Cilleros et al. (2018) described their eDNA application in the species‐rich French Guiana fishery (>200 fish species) and showed the greater potential and some limitations of using eDNA in species‐rich environments.