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Towards standardized molecular biodiversity monitoring
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Edited by Teresita Porter, John Darling, Kelly Goodwin, Tiina Laamanen, Kristian Meissner, Toshifumi Minamoto
Genetic tools are well-established for both targeted and taxonomically broad biodiversity characterization; however, they are not yet widely applied beyond proof-of-concepts or pilot studies. To support biodiversity monitoring from small to global scale in environmental stewardship programs, especially as we face a climate emergency and biodiversity decline, we need standardized and robust workflows from field sampling to detection/sequencing to metrics to characterize biodiversity. Genetic methods including environmental DNA (eDNA) metabarcoding and metagenomics have proven particularly powerful in this context. Following the GEO BON 2023 Global Conference "Monitoring Biodiversity for Action”, this topical issue invites contributions that focus on the establishment of standards and best practices enabling upscaling of genetic methods to geographically extensive, long-term monitoring efforts. Submissions will be considered that explore standards at any stage in the monitoring workflow, from sampling strategy to bioinformatic analysis and interpretation/communication of genetic data. We particularly welcome contributions that consider issues of accessibility and inclusivity and investigate technology transfer to non-traditional end-users. Through a series of papers published, this topical issue will demonstrate how molecular methods can be standardized, automated and upscaled to be used for monitoring biodiversity in varied environmental settings.
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