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Potential of environmental DNA for tracing land-use based sediment sources

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Abstract

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is a complex mixture of genetic material extracted from environmental samples like soil, water or sediment in order to obtain reliable information on the past and current biological communities. In recent years, the eDNA technique was successfully applied to sediment accumulated in lakes for providing information on past land use and land cover changes in their drainage areas. Recently, the potential of eDNA for providing detailed information on the plant species found in sediment sources was investigated. These research highlight the powerful potential of this method for improving our ability to detect the vegetal communities causing erosion and sediment delivery. Nevertheless, some fundamental questions remain like for example the DNA memory effect of soils. How long the plant signature can persist in soils? Are we recording the last species cultivated or a mixture of past plants in agricultural areas? These issues are of prime importance for examining the potential of eDNA as a new sediment tracer. To answer these questions, two contrasted sites located in intensively cultivated environments in France were studied. In the first site, soil samples were collected (n=30) in plots for which the crop rotation history was well documented since 1975. In particular, crops cultivated only once during the rotation were used as potential chronological markers. The impact of agricultural practices on eDNA preservation was also investigated comparing soil signatures under conventional and conservation farming. In the second site, samples were collected (n=40) to compare the abundance of currently observed taxa versus detected taxa in cropland, grassland, woodland and river channel banks.
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Dates and versions

cea-02569312 , version 1 (11-05-2020)

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Anthony Foucher, O. Evrard, G Francesco Ficetola, Ludovic Gielly, Julie Poulain, et al.. Potential of environmental DNA for tracing land-use based sediment sources. EGU General Assembly 2020, May 2020, Vienne, Austria. ⟨10.5194/egusphere-egu2020-8358⟩. ⟨cea-02569312⟩
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