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Using eDNA Metabarcoding to Monitor Changes in Fish Community Composition After Barrier Removal

Teja Muha Orcid Logo, Deiene Rodriguez Barreto, Richard O'Rorke, Carlos Garcia De Leaniz Orcid Logo, S Consuegra del Olmo Orcid Logo

Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, Volume: 9

Swansea University Authors: Teja Muha Orcid Logo, Deiene Rodriguez Barreto, Carlos Garcia De Leaniz Orcid Logo, S Consuegra del Olmo Orcid Logo

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Abstract

Artificial instream barriers are a major cause of habitat fragmentation that reduce population connectivity and gene flow by limiting fish movements. To mitigate their impacts, obsolete barriers are increasingly been removed worldwide, but few barrier removal projects are monitored. We employed a po...

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Published in: Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
ISSN: 2296-701X
Published: Frontiers Media SA 2021
Online Access: Check full text

URI: https://cronfa.swan.ac.uk/Record/cronfa61495
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Abstract: Artificial instream barriers are a major cause of habitat fragmentation that reduce population connectivity and gene flow by limiting fish movements. To mitigate their impacts, obsolete barriers are increasingly been removed worldwide, but few barrier removal projects are monitored. We employed a powerful Before-After-Downstream-Upstream (BADU) approach using environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding to examine the effects on fish community composition of removing a weir in the river Lugg (England) that had been suggested to have a detrimental effect on salmonid migration. We found no change in fish community diversity or relative abundance after the removal above or below the weir, but detected an important effect of sampling season, likely related to the species' life cycles. eDNA detected nine fish species that were also identified by electrofishing sampling and one additional species (Anguilla anguilla) that was missed by traditional surveys. Our results suggest that monitoring of barrier removal projects should be carried out to ensure that any ecological benefits are properly documented and that eDNA metabarcoding is a sensitive technique to monitor the effects of barrier removal.
Keywords: fish dispersal, spatio-temporal monitoring, freshwater habitat fragmentation, connectivity, eDNA
College: College of Science
Funders: This work has been funded by a H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Grant/Award (Ref 642197, AQUAINVAD_ED) to SC and the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program under Grant Agreement No 689682, Adaptive Management of Barriers in European Rivers (AMBER) project to CG.