Using DNA Metabarcoding to Identify Floral Visitation by Pollinators

Abigail Lowe*, Laura Jones, Lucy Witter, Simon Creer, Natasha de Vere

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview Articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)
56 Downloads (Pure)


The identification of floral visitation by pollinators provides an opportunity to improve our understanding of the fine-scale ecological interactions between plants and pollinators, contributing to biodiversity conservation and promoting ecosystem health. In this review, we outline the various methods which can be used to identify floral visitation, including plant-focused and insect-focused methods. We reviewed the literature covering the ways in which DNA metabarcoding has been used to answer ecological questions relating to plant use by pollinators and discuss the findings of this research. We present detailed methodological considerations for each step of the metabarcoding workflow, from sampling through to amplification, and finally bioinformatic analysis. Detailed guidance is provided to researchers for utilisation of these techniques, emphasising the importance of standardisation of methods and improving the reliability of results. Future opportunities and directions of using molecular methods to analyse plant–pollinator interactions are then discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number236
Number of pages17
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Mar 2022


  • bumblebees
  • DNA barcoding
  • DNA metabarcoding
  • honeybees
  • hoverflies
  • plant–pollinator interactions
  • pollen
  • pollen metabarcoding
  • pollinators


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