Taxonomic resolution is a critical component of biodiversity assessments. In this case study, we examined a single taxon within a larger study of nematode diversity to evaluate the taxonomic resolution of different diversity assessment methods. The selected taxon was the microbial-feeding genus Plectus, a group considered to include multiple cosmopolitan species. The methods included a morphological evaluation by light microscopy, Sanger sequencing of PCR amplicons of COI and 18S gene regions, and 18S metabarcoding sequencing. The study sites were 15 remnant tallgrass prairie plots in eastern Nebraska. In the morphological analysis, we observed two basic morphotypes, a short-tailed form with a small amphid and a long-tailed form with a large amphid. Sanger sequencing of COI sorted Plectus diversity into six distinct clades. The largest two of these six clades keyed to P. parietinus and P. rhizophilus based on morphology. BLAST analysis with COI revealed no close matches in GenBank. Sanger sequencing of the 18S region did not differentiate the six clades. These results illustrate that the method of diversity assessment strongly influences estimates of biodiversity. An additional 95 Plectus specimens, from outside the remnant sites, added taxonomic breadth to the COI phylogenetic tree. There were no geographically widespread COI haplotypes and no evidence of cosmopolitan Plectus species.

Calendario de la edición:
Volume Open
Temas de la revista:
Life Sciences, other