Sponging up Diversity: Evaluating A Challenging Sponge Community
Here, we investigate the a method of monitoring sponges with results suggesting COI metabarcoding is capable of capturing sponge richness from a complex natural community.
Despite their ecological importance, sponges are often avoided in biodiversity studies and monitoring programs because they are notoriously difficult to identify using morphological or molecular methods.
Here, we investigate the metabarcoding performance of universal degenerate cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) primers in detecting species from this challenging phylum in a cryptobenthic community.
Overall, our results confirm the need for discretion in sponge MOTU assignments using universal degenerate barcoding primers that target a short fragment of the COI gene. However, they also demonstrate that COI metabarcoding is capable of capturing sponge richness from a complex natural community.
Timmers MA, Vicente J, Webb M, Jury CP, Toonen RJ. 2020. Sponging up diversity: Evaluating metabarcoding performance for a taxonomically challenging phylum within a complex cryptobenthic community. Environmental DNA. https://doi.org/10.1002/edn3.163.