Sedimentary DNA for tracking the long-term changes in biodiversity

Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2023 Feb;30(7):17039-17050. doi: 10.1007/s11356-023-25130-5. Epub 2023 Jan 9.


Understanding long-term dynamics is vitally important for explaining current biodiversity patterns and setting conservation goals in a changing world. However, the changes in biodiversity in time and space, particularly the dynamics at the centuries or even longer time scales, are poorly documented because of a lack of continuous monitoring data. The sedimentary DNA (sedDNA) has a great potential for paleo-community reconstruction, and it has recently been used as a powerful tool to characterize past dynamics in terms of biodiversity over geological timescales. In particular, it is useful for prokaryotes and eukaryotes that do not fossilize; hence, it is revolutionizing the scope of paleoecological research. Here, a "Research Weaving" method was performed with systematic maps and bibliometric webs based on the Web of Science for Science Citation Index Expanded, presenting a comprehensive landscape of the sedDNA that traces biological dynamics. We identified that most sedDNA-based studies have focused on microbial dynamics and on using samples from multitypes of sediments. This review summarized the advantages and common applications of sedDNA, focused on the biodiversity in microbial communities, and provided an outlook for the future of sedDNA research.

Keywords: Bibliometric analysis; Biodiversity; Biological dynamics; SedDNA; Sedimentary DNA.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biodiversity*
  • DNA
  • Ecosystem
  • Eukaryota / genetics
  • Geologic Sediments*


  • DNA