The ecological assessment of European aquatic ecosystems is regulated under the framework directives on strategy for water and marine environments. Benthic macroinvertebrates are the most used biological quality element for ecological assessment of rivers, coastal-marines, and transitional waters. The morphological identification of benthic macroinvertebrates is the current tool for their assessment. Recently, DNA-based tools have been proposed as effective alternatives. The main current limits of DNA-based applications include the incompleteness of species recorded in the DNA barcode reference libraries and the primers bias. Here, we analysed the influence of the incompleteness of DNA barcode databases on species diversity indices, ecological indicators, and ecological assessment in transitional waters of the southeast Mediterranean, taking into account the availability of commonly sequenced and deposited genomic regions for listed species. The ecological quality status assigned through the potential application of both approaches to the analysed transitional water ecosystems was different in 27% of sites. We also analysed the inter-specific genetic distances to evaluate the potential application of the DNA metabarcoding method. Overall, this work highlights the importance to expand the barcode databases and to analyse, at the regional level, the gaps in the DNA barcodes.

Testing the influence of incomplete dna barcode libraries on ecological status assessment of mediterranean transitional waters

Pinna M.
Conceptualization
;
Saccomanno B.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Marini G.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Zangaro F.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Khalaj M.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Shaimardan L.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
D'attis S.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Tzafesta E.
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Specchia V.
Conceptualization
2021-01-01

Abstract

The ecological assessment of European aquatic ecosystems is regulated under the framework directives on strategy for water and marine environments. Benthic macroinvertebrates are the most used biological quality element for ecological assessment of rivers, coastal-marines, and transitional waters. The morphological identification of benthic macroinvertebrates is the current tool for their assessment. Recently, DNA-based tools have been proposed as effective alternatives. The main current limits of DNA-based applications include the incompleteness of species recorded in the DNA barcode reference libraries and the primers bias. Here, we analysed the influence of the incompleteness of DNA barcode databases on species diversity indices, ecological indicators, and ecological assessment in transitional waters of the southeast Mediterranean, taking into account the availability of commonly sequenced and deposited genomic regions for listed species. The ecological quality status assigned through the potential application of both approaches to the analysed transitional water ecosystems was different in 27% of sites. We also analysed the inter-specific genetic distances to evaluate the potential application of the DNA metabarcoding method. Overall, this work highlights the importance to expand the barcode databases and to analyse, at the regional level, the gaps in the DNA barcodes.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11587/481450
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