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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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Global geographic patterns in the colours and sizes of animal dispersed fruits

Global geographic patterns in the colours and sizes of animal dispersed fruits

Fruit colours attract animal seed dispersers, yet the causes of fruit colour diversity remain controversial. The lack of knowledge of large?scale spatial patterns in fruit colours has limited our ability to formulate and test alternative hypotheses to explain fruit colour, fruit size and fruit colour diversity. Spatial (especially latitudinal) variation in fruit colour, colour diversity and length has been described, and tested for correlations between fruit colour, length and plant habit, assembling a database of fruit traits for 13,178 fleshy fruited plant species spanning 136 sites around the world. Fruit length (both mean and variance) increases towards the tropics. Tropical communities tend to have diverse fruit colours, including many mammal?associated fruit colours (green, orange, brown and yellow), while high latitude communities contain a higher percentage of red?fruited species. The correlation between colour and size is strong, and some latitudinal patterns may be partly driven by changes in fruit size. Fruits may be larger in the tropics than at high latitudes because dispersers in the tropics tend to be larger, but there are other possible explanations. The Northern and Southern Hemispheres differ in the diversity of fruit colours across latitude, with the Southern Hemisphere having higher colour diversity, similar to the tropics. Differences in geography and in the history of plant lineages in the Southern versus the Northern Hemisphere may help to explain some biogeographic patterns, but alternative hypotheses related to fruit defence, development and metabolic costs are plausible. informacion[at] Sinnott-Armstrong et al (2018) Global geographic patterns in the colours and sizes of animal-dispersed fruits. Glob. Ecol. Biogeography