Environmental dna metabarcoding as a means of estimating species diversity in an urban aquatic ecosystem

Heather J. Webster, Arsalan Emami-Khoyi, Jacobus C. van Dyk, Peter R. Teske, Bettine Jansen van Vuuren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Adaptation to environments that are changing as a result of human activities is critical to species’ survival. A large number of species are adapting to, and even thriving in, urban green spaces, but this diversity remains largely undocumented. In the current study, we explored the potential of environmental DNA (eDNA) to document species diversity in one of the largest green spaces in Johannesburg, South Africa. Using a novel metabarcoding approach that assembles short DNA fragments suitable for massively parallel sequencing platforms to the approximate standard ~710 bp COI barcoding fragment, we document the presence of 26 phyla, 52 classes, 134 orders, 289 families, 380 genera and 522 known species from the study site. Our results highlight the critical role that urban areas play in protecting the world’s declining biodiversity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2064
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Biodiversity monitoring
  • Environmental DNA
  • Metagenomics
  • Species diversity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • General Veterinary


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