Reconstructing the diet of an elusive wood grouse (western capercaillies) using metagenomicsEnvironmental DNA provides a non-invasive and simple means of biomonitoring
By Physilia Chua
Spotted! A male capercaillie displaying its magnificent tail feathers
PHOTO CREDIT: Per Gätzschmann
Gone are the days when researchers needed to spend countless hours observing an animal in the wild to understand its behaviour and ecology. As we demonstrate with our study, valuable data can be gathered by simply examining faecal samples with powerful metagenomics approaches.
The need for data that effectively informs biological conservation is intensifying as the rate of biodiversity loss increases. Traditionally, scientists have endured long hours in the field, often hiding uncomfortably in bushes or traversing dangerous and hard-to-reach places, all for the purpose of observing elusive animals.