Studying terrestrial mammals in tropical rainforests

A user’s guide for camera-trapping and environmental DNA

Authors: Jesse F. Abrams, Jan Axtner, Tejas Bhagwat, Azlan Mohamed, An Nguyen, Jürgen Niedballa, Rahel Sollmann, Andrew Tilker, and Andreas Wilting

Cost-efficient repeatable methods to track biodiversity changes are important for forest and wildlife managers to improve management practices and target conservation efforts at the local scale.

The aim of this user’s guide is to provide practitioners step-by-step instructions for biodiversity assessment and monitoring of tropical forest mammals using camera-traps and e/iDNA. This includes guidance on the project design and standardized methodologies for data collection, data management, laboratory and data analysis, which
should enable users to produce standardized and more comparable biodiversity data collected in tropical rainforests.

In PART I METHODS AND DATA COLLECTION of this user’s guide we will first introduce the two main field methods, camera-trapping and iDNA, and highlight the advantages and disadvantages, of both techniques.

In PART II ANALYTICAL METHODS we introduce the most common methods used to analyse camera-trapping and e/iDNA datasets.

In PART III CASE STUDIES we provide key examples from the SCREENFORBIO project.

The final SUMMARY AND PERSPECTIVE section highlights the potential that these approaches have for the monitoring of terrestrial mammals in tropical rainforests, but also identifies areas in which further research is needed.

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Metabarcoding workflow & pipeline