Variations in terrestrial arthropod DNA metabarcoding methods recovers robust beta diversity but variable richness and site indicators Journal Articles uri icon

  • Overview
  • Research
  • Identity
  • Additional Document Info
  • View All


  • AbstractTerrestrial arthropod fauna have been suggested as a key indicator of ecological integrity in forest systems. Because phenotypic identification is expert-limited, a shift towards DNA metabarcoding could improve scalability and democratize the use of forest floor arthropods for biomonitoring applications. The objective of this study was to establish the level of field sampling and DNA extraction replication needed for arthropod biodiversity assessments from soil. Processing 15 individually collected soil samples recovered significantly higher median richness (488–614 sequence variants) than pooling the same number of samples (165–191 sequence variants) prior to DNA extraction, and we found no significant richness differences when using 1 or 3 pooled DNA extractions. Beta diversity was robust to changes in methodological regimes. Though our ability to identify taxa to species rank was limited, we were able to use arthropod COI metabarcodes from forest soil to assess richness, distinguish among sites, and recover site indicators based on unnamed exact sequence variants. Our results highlight the need to continue DNA barcoding local taxa during COI metabarcoding studies to help build reference databases. All together, these sampling considerations support the use of soil arthropod COI metabarcoding as a scalable method for biomonitoring.


  • Porter, Teresita M
  • Morris, Dave M
  • Basiliko, Nathan
  • Hajibabaei, Mehrdad
  • Doucet, Daniel
  • Bowman, Susan
  • Emilson, Eric
  • Emilson, Caroline E
  • Chartrand, Derek
  • Wainio-Keizer, Kerrie
  • Séguin, Armand
  • Venier, Lisa

publication date

  • December 3, 2019