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DNA metabarcoding of trawling bycatch reveals diversity and distribution patterns of sharks and rays in the central Tyrrhenian Sea

Albonetti, L, Maiello, G, Cariani, A, Carpentieri, P, Ferrari, A, Sbrana, A, Shum, P, Talarico, L, Russo, T and Mariani, S (2023) DNA metabarcoding of trawling bycatch reveals diversity and distribution patterns of sharks and rays in the central Tyrrhenian Sea. ICES Journal of Marine Science. ISSN 1054-3139

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Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsad022 (Published version)


Conservation and management of chondrichthyans are becoming increasingly important, as many species are particularly vulnerable to fishing activities, primarily as bycatch, which leads to incomplete catch reporting, potentially hiding the impact on these organisms. Here, we aimed at implementing an eDNA metabarcoding approach to reconstruct shark and ray bycatch composition from 24 hauls of a bottom trawl fishing vessel in the central Mediterranean. eDNA samples were collected through the passive filtration of seawater by simple gauze rolls encapsulated in a probe (the “metaprobe”), which already showed great efficiency in detecting marine species from trace DNA in the environment. To improve molecular taxonomic detection, we enhanced the 12S target marker reference library by generating sequences for 14 Mediterranean chondrichthyans previously unrepresented in public repositories. DNA metabarcoding data correctly identifies almost all bycaught species and detected five additional species not present in the net, highlighting the potential of this method to detect rare species. Chondrichthyan diversity showed significant association with some key environmental variables (depth and distance from the coast) and the fishing effort, which are known to influence demersal communities. As DNA metabarcoding progressively positions itself as a staple tool for biodiversity monitoring, we expect that its melding with opportunistic, fishery-dependent surveys could reveal additional distribution features of threatened and elusive megafauna.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Fisheries
Subjects: Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
Q Science > QH Natural history > QH426 Genetics
Q Science > QL Zoology
S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Divisions: Biological & Environmental Sciences (from Sep 19)
Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)
SWORD Depositor: A Symplectic
Date Deposited: 03 Mar 2023 11:53
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2023 11:53
DOI or ID number: 10.1093/icesjms/fsad022
Editors: Miller-Saunders, Kristi
URI: https://researchonline.ljmu.ac.uk/id/eprint/19028
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