Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

A new approach to molecular biosurveillance of invasive species using DNA metabarcoding.

Abstract

Non-indigenous species (NIS) reach every corner of the world, at times wreaking havoc on ecosystems and costing the global economy billions of dollars. A rapid and accurate biosurveillance tool tailored to a particular biogeographic region is needed to detect NIS when they are first introduced into an area as traditional detection methods are expensive and require specialized expertise. Metabarcoding of environmental and community DNA meets those biosurveillance requirements; a novel tool tailored to the Northwest Pacific Ocean is presented here using an approach that could revolutionize early detection of NIS. Eight newly designed genetic markers for multiple gene regions were implemented to meet the stringent taxonomic requirements for the detection of NIS across four major marine phyla. The tool was considered highly successful because it identified 12 known NIS in the study area and a further seven species representing potential new records. Overall community composition detected here was statistically different between substrate types; zooplankton sampling accounted for significantly higher species richness than filtered sea water in most cases, but this was dominated by mollusk and arthropod species. Both substrate types sampled were required to identify the wide taxonomic breadth of known NIS in the study area. Intensive sampling is known to be paramount for the detection of rare species, including new incursions of NIS, thus it is recommended to include diverse DNA sampling protocols based on species' life-history characteristics for broad detection capacity. Application of a metabarcoding-based molecular biosurveillance tool optimized for biogeographic regions enables rapid and accurate early detection across a wide taxonomic range to allow quick implementation of eradication or control efforts and potentially mitigate some of the devastating effects of NIS worldwide.