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Elucidating the diet of the island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) in Peninsular Malaysia through Illumina Next-Generation Sequencing

Aziz, Sheema Abdul, Clements, Gopalasamy Reuben, Peng, Lee Yin, Campos-Arceiz, Ahisma, McConkey, Kim R., Forget, Pierre-Michel and Gan, Han Ming 2017, Elucidating the diet of the island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) in Peninsular Malaysia through Illumina Next-Generation Sequencing, PeerJ, vol. 5, pp. 1-24, doi: 10.7717/peerj.3176.

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Title Elucidating the diet of the island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) in Peninsular Malaysia through Illumina Next-Generation Sequencing
Formatted title Elucidating the diet of the island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) in Peninsular Malaysia through Illumina Next-Generation Sequencing
Author(s) Aziz, Sheema Abdul
Clements, Gopalasamy Reuben
Peng, Lee Yin
Campos-Arceiz, Ahisma
McConkey, Kim R.
Forget, Pierre-Michel
Gan, Han Ming
Journal name PeerJ
Volume number 5
Article ID e3176
Start page 1
End page 24
Total pages 24
Publisher PeerJ
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2017-04-12
ISSN 2167-8359
Summary There is an urgent need to identify and understand the ecosystem services of pollination and seed dispersal provided by threatened mammals such as flying foxes. The first step towards this is to obtain comprehensive data on their diet. However, the volant and nocturnal nature of bats presents a particularly challenging situation, and conventional microhistological approaches to studying their diet can be laborious and timeconsuming, and provide incomplete information. We used Illumina Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS) as a novel, non-invasive method for analysing the diet of the island flying fox (Pteropus hypomelanus) on Tioman Island, Peninsular Malaysia. Through DNA metabarcoding of plants in flying fox droppings, using primers targeting the rbcL gene, we identified at least 29 Operationally Taxonomic Units (OTUs) comprising the diet of this giant pteropodid. OTU sequences matched at least four genera and 14 plant families from online reference databases based on a conservative Least Common Ancestor approach, and eight species from our site-specific plant reference collection. NGS was just as successful as conventional microhistological analysis in detecting plant taxa from droppings, but also uncovered six additional plant taxa. The island flying fox's diet appeared to be dominated by figs (Ficus sp.), which was the most abundant plant taxon detected in the droppings every single month. Our study has shown that NGS can add value to the conventional microhistological approach in identifying food plant species from flying fox droppings. At this point in time, more accurate genusand species-level identification of OTUs not only requires support from databases with more representative sequences of relevant plant DNA, but probably necessitates in situ collection of plant specimens to create a reference collection. Although this method cannot be used to quantify true abundance or proportion of plant species, nor plant parts consumed, it ultimately provides a very important first step towards identifying plant taxa and spatio-temporal patterns in flying fox diets.
Language eng
DOI 10.7717/peerj.3176
Field of Research 060408 Genomics
060499 Genetics not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2017, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30101950

Document type: Journal Article
Collections: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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Created: Fri, 18 Aug 2017, 19:50:07 EST

Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.