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Community assembly and metaphylogeography of soil biodiversity: insights from haplotype-level community DNA metabarcoding within an oceanic island
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  • Carmelo Andujar,
  • Paula Arribas,
  • Heriberto López,
  • Yurena Arjona ,
  • Antonio Pérez-Delgado,
  • Pedro Oromí,
  • Alfried Vogler,
  • Brent Emerson
Carmelo Andujar
The Natural History Museum of London

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Paula Arribas
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Heriberto López
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Yurena Arjona
Real Jardin Botanico
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Antonio Pérez-Delgado
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Pedro Oromí
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Alfried Vogler
Imperial College/Natural History Museum of London
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Brent Emerson
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Most of our understanding of island diversity comes from the study of aboveground systems, while the patterns and processes of diversification and community assembly for belowground biotas remain poorly understood. Here we take advantage of a relatively young and dynamic oceanic island to advance our understanding of eco-evolutionary processes driving community assembly within soil mesofauna. Using whole organism community DNA (wocDNA) metabarcoding and the recently developed metaMATE pipeline, we have generated spatially explicit and reliable haplotype-level DNA sequence data for soil mesofaunal assemblages sampled across the four main habitats within the island of Tenerife. Community ecological and metaphylogeographic analyses have been performed at multiple levels of genetic similarity, from haplotypes to species and supraspecific groupings. Broadly consistent patterns of local-scale species richness across different insular habitats have been found, whereas local insular richness is lower than in continental settings. Our results reveal an important role for niche conservatism as a driver of insular community assembly of soil mesofauna, with only limited evidence for habitat shifts promoting diversification. Furthermore, support is found for a fundamental role of habitat in the assembly of soil mesofauna, where habitat specialism is mainly due to colonisation and the establishment of preadapted species. Hierarchical patterns of distance decay at the community level and metaphylogeographical analyses support a pattern of geographic structuring over limited spatial scales, from the level of haplotypes through to species and lineages, as expected for taxa with strong dispersal limitations. Our results demonstrate the potential for wocDNA metabarcoding to advance our understanding of biodiversity.
14 Dec 2021Submitted to Molecular Ecology
15 Dec 2021Submission Checks Completed
15 Dec 2021Assigned to Editor
14 Jan 2022Reviewer(s) Assigned
04 Feb 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
22 Feb 2022Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
04 May 2022Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
04 May 20221st Revision Received
24 May 2022Editorial Decision: Accept
Aug 2022Published in Molecular Ecology volume 31 issue 15 on pages 4078-4094. 10.1111/mec.16560