Scat Collection Protocols for Dietary DNA Metabarcoding

DNA dietary analysis is a non-invasive tool used to identify the food consumed by vertebrates. The method relies on identifying prey DNA in the target animals’ scats. It’s especially useful for marine animals such as seals and seabirds as it is difficult to watch their feeding events.

In the video below, Julie McInnes describes scat collection protocols that she (along with Rachael Alderman, Bruce Deagle, Mary-Anne Lea, Ben Raymond and Simon Jarman) developed to optimise the detection of food DNA in vertebrate scat samples. The authors use the shy albatross to demonstrate their new methods.

To obtain high quality data from scat samples for DNA dietary analysis, the authors recommend that you:

  1. Collect fresh scats
  2. Avoid contamination from dirt or vegetation
  3. Avoid animals that have been fasting
  4. Don’t collect samples from young animals who do not feed themselves

This video is based on the Open Access article ‘Optimised scat collection protocols for dietary DNA metabarcoding in vertebrates‘ by McInnes et al.

 

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