Metabarcoding soil mite communities


Schwarzfeld, M., Nowell, V. 2018. Metabarcoding soil mite communities. Invited presentation at the 2018 Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada, the Entomological Society of American and the Entomological Society of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC, Nov 11-14, 2018.

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Using next-generation sequencing technology, we are sequencing entire communities of soil mites. This allows a rapid, fine-grained examination of soil biodiversity.


Soil-dwelling mites are numerically dominant, highly diverse, and play an integral role in nutrient cycling and the maintenance of healthy soils. They can also be effective bioindicators. However, due to their small size, abundance and challenging taxonomy, it is difficult and time-consuming to identify all mites in a soil sample. Researchers are thus limited in their ability to accurately assess soil mite communities and the impact of land-management strategies. Metabarcoding is a technique whereby next-generation sequencing technology is used to sequence entire communities at once, and is a promising method for quickly and accurately identifying soil mite communities. We are using MiSeq technology to sequence three gene regions from bulk mite samples. Initial results indicate that the technique is effective; however alpha taxonomy and building vouchered sequence libraries are crucial components for these techniques to be used at their full potential.

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