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Title: Development of molecular approaches to assess the diversity and abundance of marine nematodes assemblages for assessment of Good Environmental Status of the estuarine and marine ecosystems
Authors: Avó, Ana patrícia
Daniell, Tim
Nielson, Roy
Oliveira, Solange
Adão, Helena
Keywords: Molecular approach
Good environmental status (GES)
nematode assemblages
Issue Date: 17-Oct-2016
Publisher: Community ecology for 21th Century (Genes to Ecosystems), 17-19 October 2016
Citation: Avo., A.P., Daniell T., Nielson R., Oliveira S., Adão H., 2016. Development of molecular approaches to assess the diversity and abundance of marine nematodes assemblages for assessment of Good Environmental Status of the estuarine and marine ecosystems. Community ecology for 21th Century (Genes to Ecosystems), 17-19 October, Evora portugal
Abstract: In Europe, the concerns with the status of marine ecosystems have increased, and the Marine Directive has as main goal the achievement of Good Environmental Status (GES) of EU marine waters by 2020. Molecular tools are seen as promising and emerging approaches to improve ecosystem monitoring, and have led ecology into a new era, representing perhaps the most source of innovation in marine monitoring techniques. Benthic nematodes are considered ideal organisms to be used as biological indicator of natural and anthropogenic disturbances in aquatic ecosystems underpinning monitoring programmes on the ecological quality of marine ecosystems, very useful to assess the GES of the marine environment. dT-RFLP (directed Terminal-Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism) allows to assess the diversity of nematode communities, but also allows studying the functioning of the ecosystem, and combined with relative real-time PCR (qPCR), provides a high-throughput semi-quantitative characterization of nematode communities. These characteristics make the two molecular tools good descriptors for the good environmental status assessment. The main aim of this study is to develop and optimize the dT-RFLP and qPCR in Mira estuary (SW coast, Portugal). A molecular phylogenetic analysis of marine and estuarine nematodes is being performed combining morphological and molecular analysis to evaluate the diversity of free-living marine nematodes in Mira estuary. After morphological identification, barcoding of 18S rDNA and COI genes are being determined for each nematode species morphologically identified. So far we generated 40 new sequences belonging to 32 different genus and 17 families, and the study has shown a good degree of concordance between traditional morphology-based identification and DNA sequences. These results will improve the assessment of marine nematode diversity and contribute to a more robust nematode taxonomy. The DNA sequences are being used to develop the dT-RFLP with the ability to easily process large sample numbers (hundreds and thousands), rather than typical of classical taxonomic or low throughput molecular analyses. A preliminary study showed that the digest enzymes used in dT-RFLP for terrestrial assemblages separated poorly the marine nematodes at taxonomic level for functional group analysis. A new digest combination was designed using the software tool DRAT (Directed Terminal Restriction Analysis Tool) to distinguished marine nematode taxa. Several solutions were provided by DRAT and tested empirically to select the solution that cuts most efficiently. A combination of three enzymes and a single digest showed to be the best solution to separate the different clusters. Parallel to this, another tool is being developed to estimate the population size (qPCR). An improvement in qPCR estimation of gene copy number using an artificial reference is being performed for marine nematodes communities to quantify the abundance. Once developed, it is proposed to validate both methodologies by determining the spatial and temporal variability of benthic nematodes assemblages across different environments. The application of these high-throughput molecular approaches for benthic nematodes will improve sample throughput and their implementation more efficient and faster as indicator of ecological status of marine ecosystems.
Type: lecture
Appears in Collections:BIO - Comunicações - Em Congressos Científicos Internacionais

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