The efficacy of DNA barcoding in the classification, biodiversity and
environmental assessment of benthic macroinvertebrates
Macroinvertebrates have been recognized as key ecological indicators of
environmental and biodiversity assessment in aquatic ecosystems.
However, species identification of macroinvertebrates (especially
aquatic insects) proves to be very difficult due to lack of expertise.
In this study, we evaluated the feasibility of DNA barcoding for the
classification of benthic macroinvertebrates and investigated the
genetic differentiation in nine taxonomic groups (Ephemeroptera,
Plecoptera, Trichoptera, Diptera, Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Odonata,
Mollusca and Annelida) from four large transboundary rivers of northwest
China, and further explored its potential application to environment and
biodiversity assessment. A total of 1227 COI sequences, belonging to 189
species, 122 genera and 59 families were obtained. The barcode gap
analysis supported species status using the barcode gap approach.
Meanwhile, NJ phylogenetic trees showed that all species group into
single-species representing clusters whether from the same population or
not, except two species (Polypedilum. laetum and Polypedilum. bullum).
The ABGD analysis divided into 190 OTUs (P = 0.0599) and BIN analysis
generated 201 different BINs. Phylogenetic diversity (PD) metrics can
reflect environmental stress and serve as a metrics of Index of Biotic
Integrity (IBI) to reflect the degree of disturbance in river systems.