Making DNA count: defining and pushing the technical limits of dietary DNA metabarcoding.
Over the past ten years genetic technological advances have revolutionised the field of molecular analysis of trophic interactions. The unattainable ‘holy grail’ of dietary DNA metabarcoding is to retrieve perfect quantitative description of trophic interactions in a study system. In this talk, I will focus on the factors that impact the accuracy of dietary DNA metabarcoding and best practice approaches to limit their effects. I will present data from the literature and our own work to illustrate some of the problems that may be encountered in high-throughput amplicon sequencing workflows. A particular focus will be on our attempts to validate the use of proportional data based on sequence read counts rather than working only with frequency of occurrence datasets.