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Molecular detection of trophic interactions: emerging trends, distinct advantages, significant considerations and conservation applications.

Clare EL - Evol Appl (2014)

Bottom Line: In particular, we now have the capacity in some systems to rapidly identify thousands of species-level interactions using non-invasive methods based on the detection of trace DNA.This represents a powerful tool for conservation biology, for example allowing the identification of species with particularly inflexible niches and the investigation of food-webs or interaction networks with unusual or vulnerable dynamics.Here, I describe emerging patterns that have come from the various initial model systems, the advantages and limitations of the technique and key areas where these methods may significantly advance our empirical and applied conservation practices.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London London, UK.

ABSTRACT
The emerging field of ecological genomics contains several broad research areas. Comparative genomic and conservation genetic analyses are providing great insight into adaptive processes, species bottlenecks, population dynamics and areas of conservation priority. Now the same technological advances in high-throughput sequencing, coupled with taxonomically broad sequence repositories, are providing greater resolution and fundamentally new insights into functional ecology. In particular, we now have the capacity in some systems to rapidly identify thousands of species-level interactions using non-invasive methods based on the detection of trace DNA. This represents a powerful tool for conservation biology, for example allowing the identification of species with particularly inflexible niches and the investigation of food-webs or interaction networks with unusual or vulnerable dynamics. As they develop, these analyses will no doubt provide significant advances in the field of restoration ecology and the identification of appropriate locations for species reintroduction, as well as highlighting species at ecological risk. Here, I describe emerging patterns that have come from the various initial model systems, the advantages and limitations of the technique and key areas where these methods may significantly advance our empirical and applied conservation practices.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Conservation in action. The application of molecular detection of trophic links is already gaining specific conservation attention. Clockwise from upper left: to look at potential competition for resources between native skinks and invasive shrews on Ile aux Aigrettes, to determine mechanisms of range limitation in smooth snakes and for managed reintroductions of the endangered snail Powelliphanta augusta. Photographs used with permission: skink and shrew – Nik Cole – Durrell/MWF, smooth snake – W.O. Symondson, P. augusta – Stephane Boyer.
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fig03: Conservation in action. The application of molecular detection of trophic links is already gaining specific conservation attention. Clockwise from upper left: to look at potential competition for resources between native skinks and invasive shrews on Ile aux Aigrettes, to determine mechanisms of range limitation in smooth snakes and for managed reintroductions of the endangered snail Powelliphanta augusta. Photographs used with permission: skink and shrew – Nik Cole – Durrell/MWF, smooth snake – W.O. Symondson, P. augusta – Stephane Boyer.

Mentions: For example, Smooth snakes (Coronella austriaca, Fig.3) are widespread in Europe but have a limited distribution in the UK. Recent molecular analyses have suggested a possible reason for this based on resource availability and a developmental dietary shift (Brown et al. 2014a). These analyses suggest that predation on mammals increase as the snakes reach adulthood, but as juveniles, they are more dependent on reptiles. Similar shifts were not seen in the more common sympatric grass snakes. This suggests more resource specificity in the smooth snakes and that their range and density may be limited by reptile densities required to support juveniles and that reptile population variation may have a strong effect on the population dynamics and persistence of C. austriaca.


Molecular detection of trophic interactions: emerging trends, distinct advantages, significant considerations and conservation applications.

Clare EL - Evol Appl (2014)

Conservation in action. The application of molecular detection of trophic links is already gaining specific conservation attention. Clockwise from upper left: to look at potential competition for resources between native skinks and invasive shrews on Ile aux Aigrettes, to determine mechanisms of range limitation in smooth snakes and for managed reintroductions of the endangered snail Powelliphanta augusta. Photographs used with permission: skink and shrew – Nik Cole – Durrell/MWF, smooth snake – W.O. Symondson, P. augusta – Stephane Boyer.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4231602&req=5

fig03: Conservation in action. The application of molecular detection of trophic links is already gaining specific conservation attention. Clockwise from upper left: to look at potential competition for resources between native skinks and invasive shrews on Ile aux Aigrettes, to determine mechanisms of range limitation in smooth snakes and for managed reintroductions of the endangered snail Powelliphanta augusta. Photographs used with permission: skink and shrew – Nik Cole – Durrell/MWF, smooth snake – W.O. Symondson, P. augusta – Stephane Boyer.
Mentions: For example, Smooth snakes (Coronella austriaca, Fig.3) are widespread in Europe but have a limited distribution in the UK. Recent molecular analyses have suggested a possible reason for this based on resource availability and a developmental dietary shift (Brown et al. 2014a). These analyses suggest that predation on mammals increase as the snakes reach adulthood, but as juveniles, they are more dependent on reptiles. Similar shifts were not seen in the more common sympatric grass snakes. This suggests more resource specificity in the smooth snakes and that their range and density may be limited by reptile densities required to support juveniles and that reptile population variation may have a strong effect on the population dynamics and persistence of C. austriaca.

Bottom Line: In particular, we now have the capacity in some systems to rapidly identify thousands of species-level interactions using non-invasive methods based on the detection of trace DNA.This represents a powerful tool for conservation biology, for example allowing the identification of species with particularly inflexible niches and the investigation of food-webs or interaction networks with unusual or vulnerable dynamics.Here, I describe emerging patterns that have come from the various initial model systems, the advantages and limitations of the technique and key areas where these methods may significantly advance our empirical and applied conservation practices.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: School of Biological and Chemical Sciences, Queen Mary University of London London, UK.

ABSTRACT
The emerging field of ecological genomics contains several broad research areas. Comparative genomic and conservation genetic analyses are providing great insight into adaptive processes, species bottlenecks, population dynamics and areas of conservation priority. Now the same technological advances in high-throughput sequencing, coupled with taxonomically broad sequence repositories, are providing greater resolution and fundamentally new insights into functional ecology. In particular, we now have the capacity in some systems to rapidly identify thousands of species-level interactions using non-invasive methods based on the detection of trace DNA. This represents a powerful tool for conservation biology, for example allowing the identification of species with particularly inflexible niches and the investigation of food-webs or interaction networks with unusual or vulnerable dynamics. As they develop, these analyses will no doubt provide significant advances in the field of restoration ecology and the identification of appropriate locations for species reintroduction, as well as highlighting species at ecological risk. Here, I describe emerging patterns that have come from the various initial model systems, the advantages and limitations of the technique and key areas where these methods may significantly advance our empirical and applied conservation practices.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus