Diversity of parasitoid wasps along a tropical land-use gradient

Parasitoid Wasps are among the most important biological control agents in agriculture around the world: Laying eggs into lepidopteran, dipteran, hemipteran, and other herbivorous arthropod larvae and eggs, parasitoid wasps effectively control the level of herbivory in any ecosystem. Parasitoid wasps are also extremely species rich, which makes them suitable indicators for habitat change. The vast majority of tropical parasitois wasps, however, are unknown to science, which makes deriving abundance data on species level an extremely tedious and time consuming task. In this study, we compare the overall efficiency of (a) manually sorting a collection of parasitoid wasps to morpho-species level with (b) a metabarcoding appproach, which yields Operational Taxonomic Units (OTU) for determining species richness, diversity and community composition along a transformation gradient from forest to oil palm in central Sumatra.