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Trade-offs between reducing complex terminology and producing accurate interpretations from environmental DNA: Comment on “Environmental DNA: What’s behind the term?” by Pawlowski et al. (2020)
  • +23
  • Naiara Rodriguez-Ezpeleta,
  • Olivier Morissette,
  • Colin Bean,
  • Shivakumara Manu,
  • Pritam Banerjee,
  • Anais Lacoursiere,
  • Kingsly Ben,
  • Elizabeth Alter,
  • Fabian Roger,
  • Luke Holman,
  • Kathryn Stewart,
  • Michael Monaghan,
  • Quentin Mauvisseau,
  • Luca Mirimin,
  • Owen S. Wangensteen,
  • Caterina Antognazza,
  • Sarah Helyar,
  • Hugo de Boer,
  • Marie-Eve Monchamp,
  • Reindert Nijland,
  • Cathryn Abbott,
  • Hideyuki Doi,
  • Matthew Barnes,
  • Matthieu Leray,
  • Pascal Hablützel,
  • Kristy Deiner
Naiara Rodriguez-Ezpeleta
AZTI
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Olivier Morissette
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Colin Bean
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Shivakumara Manu
Laboratory for the Conservation of Endangered Species, CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, Hyderabad, India
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Pritam Banerjee
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Anais Lacoursiere
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
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Kingsly Ben
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Elizabeth Alter
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Fabian Roger
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Luke Holman
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Kathryn Stewart
University of Amsterdam Faculty of Science
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Michael Monaghan
Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries
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Quentin Mauvisseau
University of Oslo
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Luca Mirimin
GMIT
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Owen S. Wangensteen
University of Salford
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Caterina Antognazza
University of Insubria
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Sarah Helyar
Queen\'s University Belfast
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Hugo de Boer
University of Oslo
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Marie-Eve Monchamp
McGill University
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Reindert Nijland
Wageningen Universiteit en Research
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Cathryn Abbott
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
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Hideyuki Doi
University of Hyogo
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Matthew Barnes
Texas Tech University
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Matthieu Leray
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
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Pascal Hablützel
Flanders Marine Institute, Oostende, Belgium
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Kristy Deiner
Eawag
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Abstract

In a recent paper, “Environmental DNA: What’s behind the term? Clarifying the terminology and recommendations for its future use in biomonitoring”, Pawlowski et al. argue that the term eDNA should be used to refer to the pool of DNA isolated from environmental samples, as opposed to only extra-organismal DNA from macro-organisms. We agree with this view. However, we are concerned that their proposed two-level terminology specifying sampling environment and targeted taxa is overly simplistic and might hinder rather than improve clear communication about environmental DNA and its use in biomonitoring. Not only is this terminology based on categories that are often difficult to assign and uninformative, but it ignores what is in our opinion the most important distinction within eDNA: the type of DNA (organismal or extra-organismal) from which ecological interpretations are derived.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

06 Dec 2020Submitted to Molecular Ecology
08 Dec 2020Submission Checks Completed
08 Dec 2020Assigned to Editor
13 Dec 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
12 Jan 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
19 Feb 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
31 Mar 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
31 Mar 20211st Revision Received
28 Apr 2021Editorial Decision: Accept