A promising genetic technique for wildlife surveys
DNA metabarcoding using invertebrate DNA (“iDNA”), is an emerging, cutting-edge tool for assessing biodiversity that shows promise as a cost-effective supplement to traditional camera trap surveys. While camera trapping is an effective tool for monitoring larger species, such as duiker, it is limited in assessing smaller species, or those who are primarily arboreal (spending their time in the tree canopies) or volant (flying) species, such as bats. DNA metabarcoding can help researchers fill a critical gap in assessing an entire wildlife community.
Biodiversity Initiative researchers collect carrion flies, which feed on live and dead mammals, within our study sites, and sequence the iDNA found within the flies’ blood meals to determine which species are present within the study area.
By combining DNA metabarcoding and camera trapping, we aim to uncover unparalleled insights into the ecology and distribution of biodiversity across critical study sites in mainland Equatorial Guinea. We will add further updates as our DNA metabarcoding project develops.