Observing Phylum-Level Metazoan Diversity by Environmental DNA Analysis at the Ushimado Area in the Seto Inland Sea

Takeshi Kawashima, Masa Aki Yoshida, Hideyuki Miyazawa, Hiroaki Nakano, Natumi Nakano, Tatsuya Sakamoto, Mayuko Hamada

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The dynamics of microscopic marine plankton in coastal areas is a fundamental theme in marine biodiversity research, but studies have been limited because the only available methodology was collection of plankton using plankton-nets and microscopic observation. In recent years, environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis has exhibited potential for conducting comprehensive surveys of marine plankton diversity in water at fixed points and depths in the ocean. However, few studies have examined how eDNA analysis reflects the actual distribution and dynamics of organisms in the field, and further investigation is needed to determine whether it can detect distinct differences in plankton density in the field. To address this, we analyzed eDNA in seawater samples collected at 1 km intervals at three depths over a linear distance of approximately 3.0 km in the Seto Inland Sea. The survey area included a location with a high density of Acoela (Praesagittifera naikaiensis). However, the eDNA signal for this was little to none, and its presence would not have been noticed if we did not have this information beforehand. Meanwhile, eDNA analysis enabled us to confirm the presence of a species of Placozoa that was previously undiscovered in the area. In summary, our results suggest that the number of sequence reads generated from eDNA samples in our project was not sufficient to predict the density of a particular species. However, eDNA can be useful for detecting organisms that have been overlooked using other methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-165
Number of pages9
JournalZoological science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Acoela
  • eDNA
  • marine invertebrate
  • Placozoa
  • Praesagittifera naikaiensis
  • Trichoplax adhaerens
  • Xenacoelomorpha

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology


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