Barcoding CeDAMar Isopoda

CeDAMar studies the diversity of abyssal fauna, a challenging task for several reasons, The most obvious being the very high number of undescribed species combined with generally low abundances. This is typical for abyssal plains, and although it makes working with abyssal fauna so exciting, it is also extremely time consuming, and global biodiversity comparisons are a difficult task.

New methodology 

Using genetic rather than morphological methods is one of the innovative ways to address this problem. The use of barcoding has been considered for species determination in recent years. However, in the case of the deep sea the difficulty is to obtain non degraded DNA samples. In CeDAMar we had to overcome this impediment by optimizing sampling gears and protocols. Our project is attempting DNA barcoding in deep-sea isopods for the first time using the mitochondrial gene COI. Recently, the use of COI sequences for species discrimination of Crustacea has been shown to be successful. Additionally, we want to test other mitochondrial genes for their applicability in species differenciation.

Aims and Applications

The main aims are to link morphological descriptions with barcodes and to establish a storage of DNA together with voucher specimens. Barcoding and other alternative forms of molecular systematics need to be used alongside traditional taxonomic methods. We want to use the CeDAMar facilities like the exchange program to engage interest in the analysis of barcode data generated by taxonomists working with CeDAMar material, and also to develop and disseminate the most effective analytical procedures and display tools for barcode data gained from deep-sea Isopoda.

In future, it is also planned to extract the DNA of copepods in our new DNA-laboratory at the DZMB Wilhelmshaven.