S13 - Metabarcoding, Metagenomics and Biomonitoring

Session Type: Symposium
Full Title: S13 - Metabarcoding, Metagenomics and Biomonitoring
Short Title: Metabarcoding, Metagenomics and Biomonitoring
Organizer(s): Patricia Mergen, Botanic Garden Meise (on behalf of COST Action DNAqua-Net)
Contributors: Florian Leese (Chair DNAqua-Net, University of Duisburg-Essen), Daniel Hering (Co-lead of WG5, DNAqua-Net, University of Duisburg-Essen), Alexander Weigand (Natural History Museum Luxembourg), Diego Fontaneto (CNR-ISE, Italy), Pier Buttigieg (Alfred-Wegner-Institut Helmholtz-Zentrum für Polar-under Meeresforschung, Bremerhaven), James Macklin (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada), Piet Stoffelen (Botanic Garden Meise), Frederik Leliaert(Botanic Garden Meise), Urmas Kõljalg (University of Tartu)

Unsolicited contributions considered? Yes


Inferring the presence of species and assessing the quality of ecosystems via high-throughput metabarcoding or metagenomic analyses has become very popular and provides new efficient tools for environmental management. Targets for the analyses can be DNA extracted from whole organismal ‘bulk samples’ or environmental DNA (eDNA) directly obtained from the habitat e.g. through water filtration. The environments that can be assessed may be natural or managed habitats including soil, air, water, and even the food supply. However, several challenges remain before this becomes a routine application in biomonitoring. The aim of this joint session between TDWG and SPNCH concerns the use and challenges of metabarcoding and metagenomics in the domain of biomonitoring and quality assessments. Speakers will address how data from massive sequencing fit into current TDWG standards, whether new standards need to be developed or if existing standards used in biomonitoring and data quality assessments should be recommended. Speakers for the collections community will address issues about voucher specimens, their handling, and storage as references. Controversial questions regarding taxonomic references and complementarity of metabarcoding and metagenomics versus morphological identifications will also be discussed. Of interest to both communities are the application of legislation and recommendations such as the impact of the Nagoya protocol on sharing genetic resources. The COST Action DNAqua-Net will serve as an example in this context, as the aim is to have DNA-based methods officially endorsed by the European Commission for assessing the quality of different waterbodies (freshwater, marine waters, underground waters). The session will also be open to speakers from other domains, wishing to demonstrate how metabarcoding and metagenomics can be used for monitoring and ecological quality assessments.