9-13 November 2020
University of California, Santa Cruz
Molecular biodiversity assessment technologies based on the analysis of environmental DNA are revolutionizing the way we sample and monitor natural ecosystems. Metabarcoding techniques can be used to objectively and accurately assess biodiversity of natural communities. Their potential applications include (but are not limited to) water quality assessment, soil diversity studies, trophic analyses of digestive contents, impact assessment of fisheries, early detection of non-indigenous species, inventories of elusive megafauna, analysis of global ecological patterns or biomonitoring of anthropogenic impacts. This workshop gives an overview of the ecology of environmental DNA and the metabarcoding procedures used to analyze it. Emphasis is placed on practical problem-solving and hands-on work using analysis pipelines on real datasets. After completing the workshop, students should be in a position to (1) understand the potential and capabilities of environmental DNA analysis through metabarcoding, (2) run complete analysis pipelines and obtain diversity inventories and ecologically interpretable data from raw next-generation sequence data and (3) design their own metabarcoding projects, using bespoke primer sets and custom reference databases. All course materials (including copies of presentations, practical exercises, data files, and example scripts prepared by the instructing team) will be provided electronically to participants.