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Optimization of protocols for DNA extraction from fecal samples

High-throughput sequencing offers new possibilities in molecular ecology and conservation studies. However, its potential has not yet become fully exploited for noninvasive studies of free–ranging animals, such as those based on feces. High–throughput sequencing allows sequencing of short DNA fragments and could allow simultaneous genotyping of a very large number of samples and markers at a low cost. The application of high throughput genotyping to fecal samples from wildlife has been hindered by several labor intensive steps. Alternative protocols which could allow higher throughput were evaluated for two of these steps: sample collection and DNA extraction. Two different field sampling and seven different DNA extraction methods were tested on grey wolf (Canis lupus) feces. There was high variation in genotyping success rates. The field sampling method based on surface swabbing performed much worse than the extraction from a fecal fragment. In addition, there is a lot of room for improvement in the DNA extraction step. Optimization of protocols can lead to very much more efficient, cheaper and higher throughput noninvasive monitoring. Selection of appropriate markers is still of paramount importance to increase genotyping success. informacion[at] Sarabia et al (2020) Towards high-throughput analyses of fecal samples from wildlife. Animal Biodiver Conserv 43.2: 271–283 Doi 10.32800/abc.2020.43.0271
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Landscape change promotes the emergence of a rare predator-prey interaction

Landscape change promotes the emergence of a rare predator-prey interaction

Diet studies provide basic natural history information to understand food web dynamics. However, measuring the dietary breadth of rare, elusive species is extremely challenging due to their scarcity and/or cryptic behavior. Here, for the first time, an uncommon predatory interaction –nest predation– between two of the most elusive and rare species in Europe, the Iberian lynx and the red-necked nightjar is documented. Data on individually tagged nightjars and photo-traps were analysed together to investigate the underlying conditions that might have facilitated the fatal encounter. Human-induced changes in the landscape in 2014–2016 forced nightjars to travel relatively large distances (1–2 km) from the nest to find food, which translated into considerably longer nest absences compared with previous years (2011?2012). This fact, together with a drastic decline in wild rabbit populations, the main prey of lynx, might lead lynxes to search for alternative food resources, such as unconcealed –and easily detectable– bird nests. These results provide new data about the trophic ecology of this threatened predator and suggest that anthropogenic landscape changes may affect predator-prey relationships in unexpected ways. informacion[at] Sáez-Gómez et al (2018) Landscape change promotes the emergence of a rare predator-prey interaction. Food Webs