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A roadmap for biomonitoring in the 21st century: merging methods into metrics via ecological networks

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jordan CuffORCiD, Mukilan Deivarajan Suresh, Matt Dopson, Ben HawthorneORCiD, Thomas Howells, Dr James Kitson, Kyle Miller, Dr Tong XinORCiD, Professor Darren Evans


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The urgent need for highly resolved and broad biomonitoring has never been greater as challenges such as climate change, agricultural intensification and biodiversity loss increasingly threaten the integrity of ecosystems globally. There has been unprecedented progress in the operationalisation of such biomonitoring by leveraging technological advances in molecular, image-based and wider monitoring techniques, ultimately building toward automation at massive scales. Given these rapid developments, an updated roadmap is needed to signpost the future direction of biomonitoring that integrates technologies and maximises advances in network ecology. Here, we highlight recent progress, particularly through the examples of molecular techniques, image-based analyses and acoustic monitoring, and how these complementary approaches can be integrated to vastly enhance biomonitoring. We summarise recent progress in network inference and key methods that show promise for the future transition toward automation. We also discuss advances in data merging, the implications of this for network construction and analysis, and emerging best practices. This is presented within the context of capitalising on ecological networks to generate informative, meaningful and accessible metrics that can assess and guide biomonitoring. Through this roadmap, we ultimately highlight three distinct challenge areas in need of urgent progress: (1) standardisation and unification of data collection, (2) accessibility of interaction data across a broad range of contexts, and (3) improved methods for inferring and analysing networks. Addressing these challenges through an iterative process within a communicative knowledge network encompassing researchers, policymakers, end users and industry is crucial to ensure progress toward sustainable, effective and meaningful biomonitoring.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Cuff JP, Deivarajan Suresh M, Dopson MEG, Hawthorne BSJ, Howells T, Kitson JJN, Miller KA, Xin T, Evans DM

Editor(s): David A. Bohan, Alex J. Dumbrell

Publication type: Book Chapter

Publication status: Published

Book Title: Advances in Ecological Research

Year: 2023

Volume: 68

Online publication date: 13/10/2023

Acceptance date: 11/09/2023

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/bs.aecr.2023.09.002