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Estimation accuracy of species abundance based on environmental DNA with relation to its production source, state, and assay methodology suggested by meta-analyses
  • Toshiaki Jo,
  • Hiroki Yamanaka
Toshiaki Jo
Ryukoku Daigaku

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Hiroki Yamanaka
Ryukoku University
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Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a promising tool for non-disruptive and cost-efficient estimation of species abundance. However, its practical applicability in natural environments is limited because it is unclear whether eDNA concentrations actually represent species abundance in the field. Although the importance of accounting for eDNA dynamics, such as transport and degradation, has been discussed, the influences of eDNA characteristics, including production source and state, and methodology, including collection and quantification strategy and abundance metrics, on the accuracy of eDNA-based abundance estimation were entirely overlooked. We conducted a meta-analysis using 56 previous eDNA literature and investigated the relationships between the accuracy (R2) of eDNA-based abundance estimation and eDNA characteristics and methodology. Our meta-regression analysis found that R2 values were significantly lower for crustaceans than fish, suggesting that less frequent eDNA production owing to their external morphology and physiology may impede accurate estimation of their abundance via eDNA. Moreover, R2 values were positively associated with filter pore size, indicating that selective collection of larger-sized eDNA, which is typically fresher, could improve the estimation accuracy of species abundance. Furthermore, R2 values were significantly lower for natural than laboratory conditions, while there was no difference in the estimation accuracy among natural environments. Our findings shed a new light on the importance of what characteristics of eDNA should be targeted for more accurate estimation of species abundance. Further empirical studies are required to validate our findings and fully elucidate the relationship between eDNA characteristics and eDNA-based abundance estimation.
22 Oct 2021Submitted to Molecular Ecology Resources
22 Oct 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned
30 Nov 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
03 Dec 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
21 Dec 20211st Revision Received
21 Dec 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
21 Dec 2021Reviewer(s) Assigned