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Environmental DNA (eDNA)-metabarcoding-based early monitoring and warning for invasive species in aquatic ecosystems

LI Hanxi 1,2 HUANG Xuena 1 LI Shiguo 1,2 ZHAN Aibin 1,2

(1.Key Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085)
(2.College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049)

【Abstract】Biological invasion is a major threat to multiple ecosystems across the globe, causing severe damage to ecological integrity, loss of biodiversity, economic and social development and even human health. With the rapid development in aquaculture, shipping and aquarium and ornamental trades in the past several decades, China has become one of the countries most influenced by invasive species. Studies have clearly shown that the development and application of robust early monitoring and warning is one of the most effective ways to prevent and possibly control invasive species in aquatic ecosystems. Compared with terrestrial ecosystems, there remain several technical difficulties for developing early monitoring and warning in aquatic habitats. The technical challenges are mainly due to several features of aquatic biological communities such as high biodiversity and complex structure, a large number of microscopic species, extremely low population density and lack of available taxonomic keys for species identification. With the rapid development of high-throughput sequencing techniques, the environmental DNA (eDNA)-metabarcoding has become the top priority method for developing the early monitoring and warning programs in aquatic ecosystems. In this review, we aim to synthesize the research progress on eDNA-metabarcoding and its application to early monitoring and warning of invasive species in aquatic ecosystems. In addition, we briefly discuss the technological advantages of eDNA-metabarcoding for the early monitoring and warning programs. Finally, we propose research perspectives for solutions to technical issues for false positive and false negative errors in the eDNA-metabarcoding process.

【Keywords】 biological invasion; DNA metabarcoding; biodiversity; aquatic ecosystems; early monitoring and warning; type I error; type II error;


【Funds】 National Natural Science Foundation of China (31622011)

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This Article


CN: 11-3247/Q

Vol 27, No. 05, Pages 491-504

May 2019


Article Outline


  • 1 Introduction
  • 2 eDNA-metabarcoding technology
  • 3 Application of eDNA-metabarcoding technology in early monitoring and warning of aquatic invasive species
  • 4 Problems and optimization schemes of eDNA-metabarcoding technology
  • 5 Prospects
  • Footnote