We can quantitatively reconstruct the diet of herbivores, omnivores, and certain carnivores. We can reconstruct what plants or invertebrates animals have eaten, and are rapidly expanding our capabilities to other organisms.
Next Generation Sequencing
DNA in fecal material is PCR-amplified and sequenced using the latest Next Generation Sequencing techniques. The sequences are compared to proprietary and public databases and the proportion of the diet that is represented by each species is generated.
Why quantify diet?
The diet of animals determines their ability to grow, fight off disease, and reproduce. Many rare species from birds to bison rely seasonally on unique plant species. Invasive species can displace native species by consuming their preferred plants or animals.
To date we have provided services for academic researchers, hospitals, conservation agencies and federal agencies. We have reconstructed the diets of everything from bison to grasshoppers to prairie chickens.
The pollen of plants contains chloroplast DNA that can be sequenced. We are able to quantify the assemblages of pollen in air samples, surface samples, or sediments of up to a few thousand years. Plant DNA on environmental surfaces can also be quantified with out techniques.
We understand that many cases require specialized procedures. Our application scientists are available to consult on individual projects, tailor sampling and analysis protocols, and help develop new techniques. Contact us to discuss your projects.