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Organisms of all kinds leave genetic traces in their environments, and in recent years, sequencing this environmental DNA (eDNA) has become a tractable means of surveying many species using water, air, or soil samples. The technique is beginning to become a core tool for ecologists, environmental scientists, and biologists of many kinds, but the temporal resolution of eDNA sampling is often unclear, limiting the ecological interpretations of the resulting datasets. Here, in a temporally and spatially replicated field study using ca. 330bp of eukaryotic COI mtDNA as a marker, we find that nearshore organismal communities are largely consistent across tides. Our findings suggest that nearshore eDNA tends to be endogenous to the site and water mass sampled, rather changing systematically as waters change over during the tidal cycle. However, where water-mass characteristics change, we find that the eDNA communities change in concert, again suggesting a close association between the habitat sampled and the eDNA community recovered.
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Complete analytical code for generating the analysis and manuscript.