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The ECOTROP field school: Inventorying Afro-tropical invertebrate biodiversity through student activities and the use of DNA barcoding.

Abstract : Tropical ecosystems have been popularized as the most biodiverse habitats on Earth. However, biodiversity research in the tropics has mainly focused on charismatic vertebrates and higher plants so far, neglecting invertebrates that represent the bulk of local species richness. As a consequence, our knowledge of tropical invertebrate communities remains strongly impeded by both Linnaean and Wallacean shortfalls, and identifying species in a study site often remains a formidable challenge that inhibits the use of these organisms as indicators for ecological and conservation studies. Here, we present a summary of the results of sampling activities conducted by students during the ECOTROP field-school, a training program in tropical ecology where African and European students gained training in fieldwork and study design, and became involved in the front-end processing of samples for DNA barcoding. Most of the activities were oriented towards local surveys of invertebrate biodiversity in forest and savannah ecosystems of the northern section of Lope National Park in Gabon. During five successive editions of the program, a totalof more than 12 500 invertebrates were sampled, and more than 11 000 barcodes were generated. More data will be added in the near future through the processing of samples obtained from two Malaise traps deployed in a forest and a savannah for 12 months in 2014 and 2015. A total of nearly 3000 Barcode Index Numbers (BINs, as a proxy for species diversity) have been obtained to date, most of which belong to Lepidoptera (1664) and Coleoptera (709). For many groups of interest, the number of BINs observed exceeded the number of species recorded for the country. This highlights how combining standardized sampling, DNA barcoding, and experimental learning can significantly enhance local knowledge of biodiversity and ecological community dynamics, while training young biologists to meet the future challenges of biological conservation.
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https://hal.umontpellier.fr/hal-02108696
Contributeur : Pascale Roussel <>
Soumis le : mercredi 24 avril 2019 - 12:45:00
Dernière modification le : vendredi 29 mai 2020 - 11:48:01

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  • HAL Id : hal-02108696, version 1

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Thibaud Decaens, Rodolphe Rougerie, Stephan Ntie, Emelie Arlette Apinda-Legnouo, Jeremy R. Dewaard, et al.. The ECOTROP field school: Inventorying Afro-tropical invertebrate biodiversity through student activities and the use of DNA barcoding.. 7th International Barcode of Life Conference, Nov 2017, Skukuza, South Africa. ⟨hal-02108696⟩

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