Recent advances in molecular biomonitoring open new horizons for aquatic ecosystem assessment. Rapid and cost-effective methods based on organismal DNA or environmental DNA (eDNA) now offer the opportunity to produce inventories of indicator taxa that can subsequently be used to assess biodiversity and ecological quality.
Scientific and budgetary trade-offs between morphological and molecular methods for deep-sea biodiversity assessment
Deep-sea biodiversity, a source of critical ecological functions and ecosystem services, is increasingly subject to the threat of disturbance from existing practices (e.g., fishing, waste disposal, oil and gas extraction) as well as emerging industries such as deep-seabed mining. Current scientific tools may not be adequate for monitoring and assessing subsequent changes to biodiversity.
Bioindication has become an indispensable part of water quality monitoring in most countries of the world, with the presence and abundance of bioindicator taxa, mostly multicellular eukaryotes, used for biotic indices. In contrast, microbes (bacteria, archaea and protists) are seldom used as bioindicators in routine assessments, although they have been recognized for their importance in environmental processes.
Ecological variables for deep-ocean monitoring must include microbiota and meiofauna for effective conservation
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Environmental (e)DNA: what’s behind the term? Clarifying the terminology and recommendations for its future use in biomonitoring
The last decade brought a spectacular development of so-called environmental (e)DNA studies. In general, “environmental DNA” is defined as DNA isolated from environmental samples, in opposition to genomic DNA that is extracted directly from specimens. However, the variety of different sources of eDNA and the range of taxonomic groups that are targeted by eDNA studies is large, which has led to some discussion about the breadth of the eDNA concept.
Ecosystems monitoring powered by environmental genomics: A review of current strategies with an implementation roadmap
A decade after environmental scientists integrated high-throughput sequencing technologies in their toolbox, the genomics-based monitoring of anthropogenic impacts on the biodiversity and functioning of ecosystems is yet to be implemented by regulatory frameworks. Despite the broadly acknowledged potential of environmental genomics to this end, technical limitations and conceptual issues still stand in the way of its broad application by end-users.
Classical biomonitoring techniques have focused primarily on measures linked to various biodiversity metrics and indicator species. Next-generation biomonitoring (NGB) describes a suite of tools and approaches that allow the examination of a broader spectrum of organizational levels—from genes to entire ecosystems. Here, we frame 10 key questions that we envisage will drive the field of NGB over the next decade.
The deep ocean below 200 m water depth is the least observed, but largest habitat on our planet by volume and area. Over 150 years of exploration has revealed that this dynamic system provides critical climate regulation, houses a wealth of energy, mineral, and biological resources, and represents a vast repository of biological diversity. A long history of deep-ocean exploration and observation led to the initial concept for the Deep-Ocean Observing Strategy (DOOS), under the auspices of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS). Here we discuss the scientific need for globally ntegrated deep-ocean observing, its status, and the key scientific questions and societal mandates driving observing requirements over the next decade.
Why We Need Sustainable Networks Bridging Countries, Disciplines, Cultures and Generations for Aquatic Biomonitoring 2.0: A Perspective Derived From the DNAqua-Net COST Action
Aquatic biomonitoring has become an essential task in Europe and many other regions as a consequence of strong anthropogenic pressures affecting the health of lakes, rivers, oceans and groundwater. A typical assessment of the environmental quality status, such as it is required by European but also North American and other legislation, relies on matching the composition of assemblages of organisms identified using morphological criteria present in aquatic ecosystems to those expected in the absence of anthropogenic pressures.
The future of biotic indices in the ecogenomic era: Integrating (e)DNA metabarcoding in biological assessment of aquatic ecosystems
The bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems is currently based on various biotic indices that use the occurrence and/or abundance of selected taxonomic groups to define ecological status. These conventional indices have some limitations, often related to difficulties in morphological identification of bioindicator taxa.