Environmental DNA from archived leaves reveals widespread temporal turnover and biotic homogenization in forest arthropod communities

  1. Henrik Krehenwinkel  Is a corresponding author
  2. Sven Weber
  3. Rieke Broekmann
  4. Anja Melcher
  5. Julian Hans
  6. Rüdiger Wolf
  7. Axel Hochkirch
  8. Susan Rachel Kennedy
  9. Jan Koschorrek
  10. Sven Künzel
  11. Christoph Müller
  12. Rebecca Reztlaff
  13. Diana Teubner
  14. Sonja Schanzer
  15. Roland Klein
  16. Martin Paulus
  17. Thomas Udelhoven
  18. Michael Veith
  1. University of Trier, Germany
  2. German Federal Environment Agency, Germany
  3. Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Germany
  4. Ludwig Maximilians University, Germany

Abstract

A major limitation of current reports on insect declines is the lack of standardized, long-term, and taxonomically broad time series. Here, we demonstrate the utility of environmental DNA from archived leaf material to characterize plant-associated arthropod communities. We base our work on several multi-decadal leaf time series from tree canopies in four land use types, which were sampled as part of a long-term environmental monitoring program across Germany. Using these highly standardized and well-preserved samples, we analyze temporal changes in communities of several thousand arthropod species belonging to 23 orders using metabarcoding and quantitative PCR. Our data do not support widespread declines of α-diversity or genetic variation within sites. Instead, we find a gradual community turnover, which results in temporal and spatial biotic homogenization, across all land use types and all arthropod orders. Our results suggest that insect decline is more complex than mere α-diversity loss, but can be driven by β-diversity decay across space and time.

Data availability

All raw reads are available in the Dryad Digital Repository (https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.x0k6djhmp).The OTU table with metadata and qPCR resullts has been uploaded as Supplementary Material

The following data sets were generated

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Henrik Krehenwinkel

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    For correspondence
    krehenwinkel@uni-trier.de
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-5069-8601
  2. Sven Weber

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Rieke Broekmann

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Anja Melcher

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Julian Hans

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Rüdiger Wolf

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0002-8144-5954
  7. Axel Hochkirch

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Susan Rachel Kennedy

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  9. Jan Koschorrek

    German Federal Environment Agency, Berlin, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  10. Sven Künzel

    Department Evolutionary Genetics, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  11. Christoph Müller

    Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  12. Rebecca Reztlaff

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  13. Diana Teubner

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  14. Sonja Schanzer

    Ludwig Maximilians University, Munich, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  15. Roland Klein

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0001-8735-0393
  16. Martin Paulus

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  17. Thomas Udelhoven

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  18. Michael Veith

    University of Trier, Trier, Germany
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.

Funding

No external funding was received for this work.

Reviewing Editor

  1. Simon Creer

Publication history

  1. Received: March 10, 2022
  2. Accepted: November 6, 2022
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: November 10, 2022 (version 1)

Copyright

© 2022, Krehenwinkel et al.

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

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  1. Henrik Krehenwinkel
  2. Sven Weber
  3. Rieke Broekmann
  4. Anja Melcher
  5. Julian Hans
  6. Rüdiger Wolf
  7. Axel Hochkirch
  8. Susan Rachel Kennedy
  9. Jan Koschorrek
  10. Sven Künzel
  11. Christoph Müller
  12. Rebecca Reztlaff
  13. Diana Teubner
  14. Sonja Schanzer
  15. Roland Klein
  16. Martin Paulus
  17. Thomas Udelhoven
  18. Michael Veith
(2022)
Environmental DNA from archived leaves reveals widespread temporal turnover and biotic homogenization in forest arthropod communities
eLife 11:e78521.
https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.78521

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