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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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The role of ocean currents as a link between marine organisms and environmental variability

The role of ocean currents as a link between marine organisms and environmental variability

Eudyptula minor

A largely unresolved issue in ecology is choosing the right spatio-temporal scale to match biological processes and environment variables. Marine organisms are able to perceive environmental changes out of its habitat zone in a scale ranging from dozens to hundreds of kilometers. In this work, authors suggest that ocean currents may play a relevant role in determining the actual spatio-temporal scale under which reproductive timing in a marine predator, the Little penguin, has evolved to assure the necessary energy input to complete reproduction. Environmental dynamism should not be neglected, therefore, when investigating the linkage between animals' life-history traits and environmental variability. This newly proposed spatio-temporal scale may offer new insights on the impact on wild populations of processes causing altered environmental conditions. informacion[at] Afán et al. (2015) A novel spatio-temporal scale based on ocean currents unravels environmental drivers of reproductive timing in a marine predator. Proc R Soc B 282 (1810) 20150721  DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2015.0721