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Quantitative approaches to the analysis of sedimentary DNA to understand past biodiversity and ecosystem functioning

Abstract : Biodiversity and ecosystem functioning are crucial ecological properties that impact human welfare. Studies on how both properties are affected by human activities and by climate change provide indispensable knowledge to guide natural resource management. Long-term retro-observational data allow to reconstruct past environmental history and offer excellent opportunities to gain such knowledge. Sedimentary DNA is an emerging tool to reconstruct detailed past biodiversity in catchment level, thanks to its excellent taxonomic resolution and highly localized origins. However, previous studies based on sedimentary DNA rarely utilized the existing rich arsenal of numerical ecological analysis methods, which are developed for various types of ecological data. In the present thesis we reviewed the potential applications of such methods on sedimentary-DNA-based studies. With several example studies, we showed how these methods can maximize the knowledge gained from the analysis of multiproxy datasets that included sedimentary-DNA-, sedimentological- and climate records. Despite some limitations, numerical analysis based on sedimentary DNA combined with traditional proxy records is a powerful tool to unravel complex ecosystemic interactions. Future methodological advancements in both DNA analysis and numerical methods are promising to provide invaluable understanding over the drivers of changes in biodiversity and in ecosystem functioning across large spatial and temporal scales.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 11:30:13 AM
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Wentao Chen. Quantitative approaches to the analysis of sedimentary DNA to understand past biodiversity and ecosystem functioning. Biodiversity and Ecology. Université Grenoble Alpes, 2019. English. ⟨NNT : 2019GREAV004⟩. ⟨tel-02135367⟩

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