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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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Assessing apple snail effects on ecosystem services in Europe

Assessing apple snail effects on ecosystem services in Europe

The assessment of the risk posed by invasive alien species (IAS) to the environment is a component of increasing importance for Pest Risk Analysis. Standardized and comprehensive procedures to assess their impacts on ecosystem services have been developed only recently. The invasive apple snails (Pomacea canaliculata and P. maculata) are used as a case study to demonstrate the application of an innovative procedure assessing the potential impact of these species on shallow freshwater ecosystems with aquatic macrophytes in Europe. The apple snail recently established in the Ebro delta in Spain resulting in a serious threat to rice production and wetlands, having also a high risk to spread to other European wetlands. Here, the population abundance of apple snails is regarded as the main driver of ecosystem change. The effects of ecosystem resistance, resilience and pest management on snail population abundance are estimated for the short (5 years) and the long (30 years) term. Expert judgment was used to evaluate the impacts on selected ecosystem services in a worst case scenario. This study shows that the combined effects of apple snails are estimated to have profound effects on the ecosystem services provided by these ecosystems in Europe. This case study illustrates that quantitative estimates of environmental impacts from different IAS are feasible and useful for decision-makers and invasive species managers that have to balance costs of control efforts against environmental and economic impacts of invasive species. informacion[at] Gilioli et al (2017) Environmental risk assessment for invasive alien species: A case study of apple snails affecting ecosystem services in Europe. Environ Impact Assess Rev 65: 1–11 DOI 10.1016/j.eiar.2017.03.008