Scat DNA provides important data for effective monitoring of mammal and bird biodiversity
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Despite the roles they play in ecosystem function, animals have have long been neglected in the monitoring of ecological restoration. Vertebrate surveys can be time consuming and costly, often requiring multiple methodologies and taxonomic expertise, making comprehensive monitoring cost prohibitive. Here, we evaluate a new method of assessing mammal and bird diversity through the genetic identification of scat collections. Using DNA metabarcoding of scat collections from three bioregions, we generated bird and mammalian assemblage data and distinguished between sites with different restoration histories. However, scat detectability was affected by environmental conditions (e.g. rainfall and vegetative cover), suggesting that our approach is most applicable at certain times of year or in arid (or semi-arid) environments with rocky soils, where conditions are favourable for scat preservation. Taken together these data provide a pathway to: plan, monitor and establish best-practice when restoring landscapes and add to the growing body of literature on the value of DNA metabarcoding in biomonitoring applications.
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Gann, G.D.; McDonald, Tein ; Walder, B.; Aronson, J.; Nelson, C.R.; Jonson, J.; Hallett, J.G.; Eisenberg, C.; Guariguata, M.R.; Liu, J.; Hua, F.; Echeverría, C.; Gonzales, E.; Shaw, N.; Decleer, K.; Dixon, Kingsley (2019)EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Ecological restoration, when implemented effectively and sustainably, contributes to protecting biodiversity; improving human health and wellbeing; increasing food and water security; delivering goods, ...
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