Mapping biodiversity hotspots of fish communities in subtropical streams through environmental DNA

Rosetta C. Blackman, Maslin Osathanunkul, Jeanine Brantschen, Cristina Di Muri, Lynsey R. Harper, Elvira Mächler, Bernd Hänfling, Florian Altermatt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Large tropical and subtropical rivers are among the most biodiverse ecosystems worldwide, but also suffer from high anthropogenic pressures. These rivers are hitherto subject to little or no routine biomonitoring, which would be essential for identification of conservation areas of high importance. Here, we use a single environmental DNA multi-site sampling campaign across the 200,000 km2 Chao Phraya river basin, Thailand, to provide key information on fish diversity. We found a total of 108 fish taxa and identified key biodiversity patterns within the river network. By using hierarchical clustering, we grouped the fish communities of all sites across the catchment into distinct clusters. The clusters not only accurately matched the topology of the river network, but also revealed distinct groups of sites enabling informed conservation measures. Our study reveals novel opportunities of large-scale monitoring via eDNA to identify relevant areas within whole river catchments for conservation and habitat protection.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10375
JournalScientific Reports
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 14 May 2021

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