To associate specimens identified by molecular characters to other biological knowledge, we need reference sequences annotated by Linnaean taxonomy. In this paper, we 1) report the creation of a comprehensive reference library of DNA barcodes for the arthropods of an entire country (Finland), 2) publish this library, and 3) deliver a new identification tool based on this resource. The reference library contains mtDNA COI barcodes for 11,275 (43%) of 26,437 arthropod species known from Finland, including 10,811 (45%) of 23,956 insect species. To quantify the improvement in identification accuracy enabled by the current reference library, we ran 1,000 Finnish insect and spider species through the Barcode of Life Data system (BOLD) identification engine. Of these, 91% were correctly assigned to a unique species when compared to the new reference library alone, 85% were correctly identified when compared to BOLD with the new material included, and 75% with the new material excluded. To capitalize on this resource, we used the new reference material to train a probabilistic taxonomic assignment tool, FinPROTAX, scoring high success. For the full-length barcode region, the accuracy of taxonomic assignments at the level of classes, orders, families, subfamilies, tribes, genera, and species reached 99.9%, 99.9%, 99.8%, 99.7%, 99.4%, 96.8%, and 88.5%, respectively. The FinBOL arthropod reference library and FinPROTAX are available through the Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility (www.laji.fi). Overall, the FinBOL investment represents a massive capacity-transfer from the taxonomic community of Finland to all sectors of society.
Herbivore insects acquire microorganisms from host plants or soil, but it remains unclear how the diversity and functional composition of host plants contribute to structuring herbivore microbiomes. Within a controlled tree-diversity setting, we used DNA metabarcoding of 16S rRNA to assess the contribution of Lepidoptera species and their local environment (particularly, tree diversity, host tree species, and leaf traits) to the composition of associated bacterial communities. In total, we obtained 7,909 bacterial OTUs from 634 caterpillar individuals comprising 146 species. Tree diversity was found to drive the diversity of caterpillar-associated bacteria both directly, and indirectly via effects on caterpillar communities, and tree diversity was a stronger predictor of bacterial diversity than diversity of caterpillars. Leaf toughness and dry matter content were important traits of the host plant determining bacterial species composition, while leaf calcium and potassium concentration influenced bacterial richness. Our study reveals previously unknown linkages between trees and their characteristics, herbivore insects, and their associated microbes, which contributes to developing a more nuanced understanding of functional dependencies between herbivores and their environment, and has implications for the consequences of plant diversity loss for trophic interactions.