Metabarcoding techniques are a set of novel genetic tools for qualitatively and quantitatively assessing biodiversity of natural communities. Their potential applications include (but are not limited to) accurate water quality, soil diversity assessment, trophic analyses of digestive contents, diagnosis of health status of fisheries, early detection of non-indigenous species, studies of global ecological patterns and biomonitoring of anthropogenic impacts. This workshop gives an overview of metabarcoding procedures with an emphasis on practical problem-solving and hands-on work using analysis pipelines on real datasets. After completing the workshop, students should be in a position to (1) understand the potential and capabilities of metabarcoding, (2) run complete analyses of metabarcoding pipelines and obtain diversity inventories and ecologically interpretable data from raw next-generation sequence data and (3) design their own metabarcoding projects, using bespoke primer sets and custom reference databases. All course materials (including copies of presentations, practical exercises, data files, and example scripts prepared by the instructing team) will be provided electronically to participants.
This workshop is mainly aimed at students, researchers and technical workers with a background in ecology, biodiversity or community biology who want to use molecular tools for biodiversity research and at researchers in other areas of bioinformatics who want to learn ecological applications for biodiversity-assessment.