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Abstract Detail

Molecular Ecology and Evolution

Fehlberg, Shannon [1], Tew, Jessica [1], Tluczek, Melanie [2], Salywon, Andrew [1].

Molecular analysis of pronghorn antelope diet using semiconductor sequencing.

Understanding species composition of wild ungulate diets provides baseline information that directly aids habitat monitoring and management efforts by helping land managers assess range quality for target animal species. However, accurate information on wild animal diets is difficult to obtain, and numerous techniques have been employed and tested with various levels of success. Here we assessed diet composition of pronghorn antelope (Antilocapra americana) at Agua Fria National Monument (AFNM) in Arizona using non-invasive molecular analysis of fecal pellets and compared these results to those of recent microhistological techniques. We generated a DNA barcode reference database using two chloroplast DNA regions (trnL-trnF and rbcL) for over 200 plant species from AFNM, known by microhistological methods to be in the diet of pronghorn antelope. We then employed a next generation sequencing approach using the Ion Torrent platform to identify trnL P6-loop and rbcL fragments that were PCR amplified from fecal pellets. Molecular and microhistological analyses of diet composition for pronghorn antelope recovered similar numbers of plants in the diet, with most of these identified to species; however, the specific plants recovered by each method differed in several important aspects. Using more than one DNA barcode region improved our ability to identify species. This approach may potentially be used to determine the diet of any herbivore (e.g., reptiles, birds, rodents, and insects), benefiting a variety of land management and conservation efforts.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - Desert Botanical Garden, 1201 N. Galvin Pkwy., Phoenix, AZ, 85008, USA
2 - Arizona State University, School of Life Sciences, Tempe, AZ, 85287, USA

DNA barcoding
next generation sequencing
Ion Torrent.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Topics
Session: 16
Location: Union B/Hyatt
Date: Monday, July 9th, 2012
Time: 2:45 PM
Number: 16006
Abstract ID:553

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