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Camilla Fløjgaard

Detecting flying insects using car nets and DNA metabarcoding

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  • Cecilie S. Svenningsen, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Tobias Guldberg Frøslev, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Jesper Bladt
  • Lene Bruhn Pedersen, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Jonas Colling Larsen, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Rasmus Ejrnæs
  • Camilla Fløjgaard
  • Anders Johannes Hansen, Section for GeoGenetics, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Jacob Heilmann-Clausen, University of Copenhagen
  • ,
  • Robert R. Dunn, North Carolina State University
  • ,
  • Anders P. Tøttrup, Natural History Museum of Denmark, University of Copenhagen

Monitoring insects across space and time is challenging, due to their vast taxonomic and functional diversity. This study demonstrates how nets mounted on rooftops of cars (car nets) and DNA metabarcoding can be applied to sample flying insect richness and diversity across large spatial scales within a limited time period. During June 2018, 365 car net samples were collected by 151 volunteers during two daily time intervals on 218 routes in Denmark. Insect bulk samples were processed with a DNA metabarcoding protocol to estimate taxonomic composition, and the results were compared to known flying insect richness and occurrence data. Insect and hoverfly richness and diversity were assessed across biogeographic regions and dominant land cover types.We detected 15 out of 19 flying insect orders present in Denmark, with high proportions of especially Diptera compared to Danish estimates, and lower insect richness and diversity in urbanized areas. We detected 319 species not known for Denmark and 174 species assessed in the Danish Red List. Our results indicate that the methodology can assess the flying insect fauna at large spatial scales to a wide extent, but may be, like other methods, biased towards certain insect rders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20200833
JournalBiology Letters
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Royal Society Publishing. All rights reserved.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

    Research areas

  • Car nets, Citizen science, COI, DNA metabarcoding, Insect diversity, Mass collected insects

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