Event Title

Characterizing Freshwater Macroinvertebrate Food Webs Using DNA-Based Methods

Poster Number

040

Faculty Mentor

Cynthia Tant, Ph.D.

College

College of Arts and Sciences

Department

Department of Biology

Location

Richardson Ballroom (DIGS)

Start Date

20-4-2018 2:15 PM

End Date

20-4-2018 4:15 PM

Description

Aquatic food webs are complex, and their study can provide valuable information on movement of energy and nutrients through ecosystems. Most food web studies involve microscopic analysis of gut contents that can be time consuming, and many prey species lack features that persist long enough in a predator’s gut for taxonomic identification. The application of newer, molecular-based approaches has the potential to provide previously unavailable resolution in aquatic food webs. We sampled and identified a variety of benthic macroinvertebrates at the Winthrop Recreational and Research Complex in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Individuals from selected predator taxa were used either to create gut content slides to identify prey categories or to extract DNA from gut contents for a variety of analyses. DNA extracted from selected individuals was sent off for analysis via next-generation sequencing. DNA extracted from other individuals was amplified using PCR with group-specific primers to determine presence or absence of those taxa in predator guts. These comparative data will ultimately provide baseline taxonomic data on food web interactions in lake, wetland, and stream habitats at the Complex.

Previously Presented/Performed?

South Carolina Entomological Society Annual Meeting, Georgetown, South Carolina, October 2017

Awards Won

Undergraduate Poster Competition, South Carolina Entomological Society Annual Meeting, October 2017

Course Assignment

BIOL 471-Tant

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Apr 20th, 2:15 PM Apr 20th, 4:15 PM

Characterizing Freshwater Macroinvertebrate Food Webs Using DNA-Based Methods

Richardson Ballroom (DIGS)

Aquatic food webs are complex, and their study can provide valuable information on movement of energy and nutrients through ecosystems. Most food web studies involve microscopic analysis of gut contents that can be time consuming, and many prey species lack features that persist long enough in a predator’s gut for taxonomic identification. The application of newer, molecular-based approaches has the potential to provide previously unavailable resolution in aquatic food webs. We sampled and identified a variety of benthic macroinvertebrates at the Winthrop Recreational and Research Complex in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Individuals from selected predator taxa were used either to create gut content slides to identify prey categories or to extract DNA from gut contents for a variety of analyses. DNA extracted from selected individuals was sent off for analysis via next-generation sequencing. DNA extracted from other individuals was amplified using PCR with group-specific primers to determine presence or absence of those taxa in predator guts. These comparative data will ultimately provide baseline taxonomic data on food web interactions in lake, wetland, and stream habitats at the Complex.