Novel Applications of iDNA Tool for Measuring Small Mammal Community Biodiversity via Silphid Beetles

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



College of Forest Resources and Environmental Science


Environmental DNA (eDNA) and invertebrate DNA (iDNA) have become popular techniques in biodiversity surveys. Established iDNA sources to survey mammals include biting invertebrates, but Silphidae (carrion feeders) have yet to be reported in literature. These beetles could provide a less invasive tool to survey mammalian communities. To validate use of iDNA methods using silphids, fieldwork was conducted in Michigan Technological University’s Ford Forest in the Northern Hardwood-Silviculture Experiment to Enhance Diversity (NH-SEED). Modified pitfall trapping was conducted and we successfully sequenced diet DNA from silphids, showing their potential as an iDNA tool. Additionally, trapping in NH-SEED showed a potential treatment selection by silphids in different harvesting methods and ground treatments, though no statistically significant results were determined in our preliminary data collection. Further studies are necessary to conduct more extensive sampling to determine silviculture treatment preferences and to further explore potential applications for silphids as an iDNA tool.

Publication Title

Proceedings of the First Biennial Northern Hardwood Conference 2021: Bridging Science and Management for the Future