Bettina Thalinger

Bettina Thalinger
University of Innsbruck | UIBK · Department of Zoology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

51
Publications
8,216
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466
Citations
Introduction
I focus on the detection of trace amounts of DNA from environmental samples to study species distributions, interactions and biodiversity. I frequently work with water samples or dietary samples and develop molecular assays for the sensitive detection of both individual species and entire species communities. Most of my work is centred around birds and fishes and their foraging ecology, distribution patterns in space and time, and sex-specific differences.
Additional affiliations
August 2019 - June 2022
University of Guelph
Position
  • PostDoc Position
June 2016 - December 2018
University of Innsbruck
Position
  • PostDoc Position
January 2011 - May 2015
University of Innsbruck
Position
  • PhD Student
Education
January 2012 - May 2016
University of Innsbruck
Field of study
  • Biology

Publications

Publications (51)
Article
Full-text available
Diet analysis is an important aspect when investigating the ecology of fish-eating animals and essential for assessing their functional role in food webs across aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. The identification of fish remains in dietary samples, however, can be time-consuming and unsatisfying using conventional morphological analysis of prey...
Article
Full-text available
Potamodromous fish are considered important indicators of habitat connectivity in freshwater ecosystems, but they are globally threatened by anthropogenic impacts. Hence, non-invasive techniques are necessary for monitoring during spawning migrations. The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) potentially facilitates these efforts, albeit quantitative exa...
Article
Full-text available
The quantitative measurement of environmental DNA (eDNA) from field-collected water samples is gaining importance for the monitoring of fish communities and populations. The interpretation of these signal strengths depends, among other factors, on the amount of target eDNA shed into the water. However, shedding rates are presumably associated with...
Article
Full-text available
The use of environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis for species monitoring requires rigorous validation—from field sampling to the analysis of PCR‐based results—for meaningful application and interpretation. Assays targeting eDNA released by individual species are typically validated with no predefined criteria to answer specific research questions in one...
Article
Full-text available
Assessing the status and distribution of fish populations in rivers is essential for management and conservation efforts in these dynamic habitats. Currently, methods detecting environmental DNA (eDNA) are being established as an alternative and/or complementary approach to the traditional monitoring of fish species. In lotic systems, a sound under...
Article
The feeding ecology of the Great Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo has been the subject of many studies in which the hard parts of fish, contained in dietary samples such as regurgitated pellets, were identified using morphological characteristics. However, morphological prey identification does not necessarily permit the reliable identification of all...
Article
Piscivorous birds in aquatic ecosystems exert predation pressure on fish populations. But the site‐specific impact on fish populations, including stocked and commercially used fish species, remains disputed. One of the key questions for the management of piscivorous birds and fish is determining the origin of prey and thus which fish populations ar...
Article
Full-text available
The European green crab Carcinus maenas and its sister species C. aestuarii are highly invasive species causing damage to coastal ecosystems and contributing to severe economic losses worldwide. C. maenas was first detected at the Atlantic Patagonian coast in 2001. In this work, we studied the diet of the green crab in a recently invaded location i...
Article
Over the last two centuries, the Red-and-Green Macaw (Ara chloropterus) has become locally extinct in Argentina. In an attempt to restore its key ecosystem functions as both disperser and regulator of large-seeded plants, a reintroduction project was initiated at the Iberá National Park in northeastern Argentina. The ability of released individuals...
Book
Full-text available
This publication is an output from EU COST Action DNAqua-Net (CA 15219 - Developing new genetic tools for bioassessment of aquatic ecosystems in Europe) and would not have been possible without the opportunities for international collaboration provided by the network, supported by COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). Therefore, ou...
Preprint
The focus of this study was to assess the potential of otolith microchemistry as a fishery management tool for different European freshwater fish species in an Alpine foreland with a diverse range of different water bodies but low geological variation. ⁸⁷ Sr/ ⁸⁶ Sr isotope and Sr/Ca ratios in water samples from 26 habitat sites in a pre-alpine catc...
Article
Full-text available
The use of sensitive methods is key for the detection of target taxa from trace amounts of environmental DNA (eDNA) in a sample. In this context, digital PCR (dPCR) enables direct quantification and is commonly perceived as more sensitive than endpoint PCR. However, endpoint PCR coupled with capillary electrophoresis (celPCR) potentially embodies a...
Preprint
Full-text available
Over the last two centuries, the Red-and-green Macaw ( Ara chloropterus ) has become locally extinct in Argentina. In an attempt to restore its key ecosystem functions as both disperser and regulator of large-seeded plants, a reintroduction project was initiated at the Iberá National Park in northeastern Argentina. The ability of released individua...
Preprint
The quantitative measurement of eDNA form field-collected water samples is gaining importance for the monitoring of fish communities and populations. The interpretation of these signal strengths depends, among other factors, on the amount of target eDNA shed into the water. However, shedding rates are presumably associated with species-specific tra...
Preprint
Full-text available
The use of sensitive methods is key for the detection of target taxa, from trace amounts of environmental DNA (eDNA) in a sample. In this context, digital PCR (dPCR) enables direct quantification and is commonly perceived as more sensitive than endpoint PCR. However, endpoint PCR coupled with capillary electrophoresis (celPCR) potentially embodies...
Preprint
Full-text available
The European green crab Carcinus maenas and, its sister species, C. aestuarii are highly invasive species causing damages to coastal ecosystems and severe economic losses worldwide. C. maenas was detected at the Atlantic Patagonian coast twenty years ago. In this work, we studied the diet of the green crab in a recently invaded location in Nuevo Gu...
Preprint
Assessing the status and distribution of fish populations in rivers is essential for management and conservation efforts in these dynamic habitats and currently, environmental DNA (eDNA) is established as an alternative and/or complementary approach to the traditional monitoring of fish species. In lotic systems, a sound understanding of hydrologic...
Article
Full-text available
Fish are both consumers and prey and as such part of a dynamic trophic network. Measuring how they are trophically linked, both directly and indirectly, to other species is vital to comprehend the mechanisms driving alterations in fish communities in space and time. Moreover, this knowledge also helps to understand how fish communities respond to e...
Preprint
Full-text available
Environmental DNA (eDNA) analysis utilises trace DNA released by organisms into their environment for species detection and is revolutionising non-invasive species monitoring. The use of this technology requires rigorous validation - from field sampling to interpretation of PCR-based results - for meaningful application and interpretation. Assays t...
Article
Full-text available
Piscivorous birds frequently display sex‐specific differences in their hunting and feeding behavior, which lead to diverging impacts on prey populations. Cormorants (Phalacrocoracidae), for example, were previously studied to examine dietary differences between the sexes and males were found to consume larger fish in coastal areas during autumn and...
Article
Full-text available
Molecular methods allow non-invasive assessment of vertebrate predator-prey systems at high taxonomic resolution by examining dietary samples such as faeces and pellets. To facilitate the interpretation of field-derived data, feeding trials, investigating the impacts of biological, methodological, and environmental factors on prey DNA detection hav...
Article
Full-text available
Molecular techniques have become an important tool to empirically assess feeding interactions. The increased usage of next-generation sequencing approaches has stressed the need of fast DNA extraction that does not compromise DNA quality. Dietary samples here pose a particular challenge, as these demand high-quality DNA extraction procedures for ob...
Article
Full-text available
In trophic studies on piscivorous birds, it is vital to know which kind of dietary sample provides the information of interest and how the prey can be identified reliably and efficiently. Often, noninvasively obtained dietary samples such as regurgitated pellets, feces, and regurgitated fish samples are the preferred source of information. Fish pre...
Data
Appendix S2. Notes on the multiplex PCR assays.
Data
Appendix S1. Red list freshwater fish species of Central Europe not included in this study.
Data
Table S1. The taxonomy of all Central European fish species targeted by the multiplex PCR assays including the number of DNA extracts generated from tissue samples and their origin.
Data
Table S2. Non‐target animals used to evaluate the specificity of the multiplex PCR assays including the number of DNA extracts tested per taxon.
Data
Table S3. Collection locations of the Common Kingfisher (Alcedo atthis) a faeces.
Data
Table S4. In silico PCR conditions and results.
Conference Paper
Analysis of elemental and isotopic compositions and of the shape of fish otoliths has become an important tool in fish ecology. Highly relevant questions like origin and migration of fish over their life time cannot be answered easily with other methods. However, before otolith chemistry and shape can be applied for such kind of studies, the relati...
Poster
The morphological identification of fish samples can be difficult, for example, when dealing with eggs, larvae, tissue samples, or dietary samples of piscivores. Hard parts such as otoliths, chewing pads, pharyngeal bones or scales can enable morphological identification if present. However, species-specific identification is often not possible, es...
Article
Full-text available
Avian carcasses can provide important information on the trophic ecology of birds. Usually, the number of carcasses available for examination is limited and therefore it is important to gain as much dietary information per specimen as possible. In piscivorous birds and raptors, the stomach has been the primary source of dietary information, whereas...
Article
Full-text available
Soil-dwelling pests inflict considerable economic damage in agriculture but are hard to control. A promising strategy to reduce pest pressure on crops is to increase the plant diversity in agroecosystems. This approach, however, demands a sound understanding of species' interactions, which is widely lacking for subterranean herbivore-plant systems....
Article
Full-text available
Plant identification is challenging when no morphologically assignable parts are available. There is a lack of broadly applicable methods for identifying plants in this situation, for example when roots grow in mixture and for decayed or semi-digested plant material. These difficulties have also impeded the progress made in ecological disciplines s...
Data
PCR conditions for template generation. (DOC)
Data
PCR conditions to generate templates for sequencing. (DOC)
Data
PCR conditions for initial primer testing. (DOC)
Conference Paper
Click beetle larvae within the genus Agriotes feed on roots and tubers of plants and are serious pests worldwide. Albeit highly relevant for the control of these insects, the dispersal abilities under natural conditions of both larvae and adults are poorly known. Here we used a stable isotope approach to assess the dispersal abilities of agrioted b...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Although a significant proportion of plant tissue is located in roots and other below-ground parts of plants, little is known on the dietary choices of root-feeding insects. Assessing trophic interactions under natural conditions, however, is not a simple task. This is especially true for soil food webs where the opaque habitat hampers the direct i...
Article
When using the eddy covariance (EC) method for measuring the ecosystem–atmosphere exchange of sensible and latent heat, it is not uncommon to find that these two energy fluxes fall short of the available energy by 20 to 30%. As the causes for the energy imbalance are still under discussion, it is currently not clear how the energy balance should be...
Article
When using the eddy covariance (EC) method for measuring the ecosystem-atmosphere exchange of sensible and latent heat, it is not uncommon to find that these two energy fluxes fall short of available energy by 20-30 %. As the causes for the energy imbalance are still under discussion, it is currently not clear how the energy balance should be close...

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Develop field protocols for the assessment of forest biodiversity from a catchment via eDNA.
Archived project
The project aims were two-fold: 1) To determine the trophic links between herbivorous soil living insects and specific plant species. Consumed plants have been identified on a species-specific level. 2.) To assess the relationship between plant biodiversity and below-ground herbivore food choice by testing the hypothesis that generalist herbivores exploit high plant biodiversity in extending their food range. Within the present project we combined molecular gut content and stable isotope analysis to disentangle trophic relationships between herbivorous soil insects and plants.