Detecting Subarctic Caddisflies using eDNA and Measuring the Phylogenetic Signal of their Choice in Habitat

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Authors

Chatila-Amos, Kamil

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University of Guelph

Abstract

Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis is a powerful new tool for biomonitoring applications, with potential applications in entomology. This study evaluated the utility of a newly developed qPCR assay designed to detect eDNA from a species of an aquatic benthic macroinvertebrate (Philarctus bergrothi) in Churchill, Manitoba. To inform the design of our eDNA-based assays, we investigated if habitat choice is conserved phylogenetically by sampling 53 species of caddisflies (Trichoptera). We found a high propensity for habitat switching and no significant phylogenetic signal for habitat choice within the caddisfly larvae of Churchill. When applying our novel molecular methods, we successfully detected P. bergrothi eDNA in 96% of the sites where evidence of the organism was found using conventional sampling. Upon evaluating the impacts of environmental characteristics on detection, no significant relationship was observed between environmental characteristics and the amount of target eDNA detected.

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Keywords

eDNA, Trichoptera, Subarctic, Phylogeny, Environmental DNA, Caddisflies, Churchill, MB

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