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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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Foxes, rabbits and nightjars interact on roads

Foxes, rabbits and nightjars interact on roads

Linear developments, such as roads, firebreaks, and railways, provide a stark juxtaposition of different habitats with contrasting associated predation risks, thus potentially influencing predator–prey interactions. However, empirical evidence is still very limited. The effect of fox abundance and that of their main prey, the European rabbit, on habitat selection by an alternative prey, the red-necked nightjar, was studied in a road network crossing the Doñana Natural Space. Nightjars generally forage on the same roads used by foxes to search for alternative prey when rabbits are scarce and, as a result, predation risk for nightjars may vary over time. Contrary to expectations, nightjars continued foraging on roads when foxes were most abundant, yet they behaved more cautiously. During risky periods, nightjars perched nearby tall roadside cover, which is known to functions as a protective barrier against fox attacks. Conversely, when predation risk decreased, nightjars shifted to safer microsites near short plants, further away from the roadside. This study shows how nightjar plasticity in microhabitat selection allows them to forage even in areas where predators are abundant, and highlights the important role that linear structures may play in interspecific interactions. informacion[at] Camacho et el (2017) Nightjars, rabbits, and foxes interact on unpaved roads: spatial use of a secondary prey in a shared-predator system. Ecosphere DOI: 10.1002/ecs2.1611