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Seminar: “Detection and Analysis of Trophic Links by Molecular Methods” with David Andow

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August 24 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

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Advances in molecular methods for detecting trophic links among populations have revolutionized the field, increasing taxonomic resolution and accuracy. Recent methods allow detection of multiple species simultaneously from a single sample. Starting with multiplex PCR, the field rapidly moved to metabarcoding, which is now the dominant method. More recently, mapping unassembled shotgun reads (Lazaro) has provided significant potential advantages. In addition, analytical methods have improved although there remain significant opportunities for improving bioinformatic analysis. While I usually structure my presentations around hypotheses, here I will take a methodological focus in the hope of stimulating interest in possible future collaborations. First, I will show results from a novel application of parasitoid-specific PCR that may have application in other ecological systems. Then, I will present a simple model for using molecular gut content data to estimate predation rates that can be applied to either metabarcoding or Lazaro data. For metabarcoding data quantification is restricted to a single predator-prey interaction. I will then turn to Lazaro data, showing qualitative then increasing quantitative trophic links. Finally, I end with an issue that requires substantial research: how to reduce false positives and false negatives.  

If you are unable to attend in person, please email David Andow (daandow@ncsu.edu) for a Zoom link.

And, stick around afterwards for a happy hour! Location TBD.


August 24
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
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Applied Ecology