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Time series experiments reveal that environmental DNA tracks zooplankton population dynamics in large mesocosms

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Title: Time series experiments reveal that environmental DNA tracks zooplankton population dynamics in large mesocosms
Author: Bourque, Danielle
Department: Department of Integrative Biology
Program: Integrative Biology
Advisor: Hanner, RobertFryxell, John
Abstract: Environmental DNA (eDNA) holds great potential for biomonitoring and ecological research. However, its utility for quantifying temporal changes in abundance, biomass, and diversity remains contentious. In this thesis, I investigated biotic and abiotic factors influencing temporal and spatial variation in eDNA concentration. Time series data demonstrated a positive relationship between the population abundance of the cladoceran zooplankton species Daphnia magna and its eDNA concentration in large aquatic mesocosms, with a time lag of ~ 3.5 days. Environmental temperatures of 15 °C promoted greater eDNA persistence than metabolically favorable (25 °C) conditions. Levels of spatial autocorrelation suggest that the swimming activity of Daphnia and/or thermally-driven mixing might have homogenized the distribution of their eDNA over the entire water column.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/16261
Date: 2019-06
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