Polar Biology

, 32:1629

Barcoding Antarctic Biodiversity: current status and the CAML initiative, a case study of marine invertebrates

Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00300-009-0662-x

Cite this article as:
Grant, R.A. & Linse, K. Polar Biol (2009) 32: 1629. doi:10.1007/s00300-009-0662-x


The Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) aims to collate DNA barcode data for Antarctic marine species. DNA barcoding is a technique that uses a short gene sequence from a standardised region of the genome as a diagnostic ‘biomarker’ for species. This study aimed to quantify genetic data currently available in GenBank in order to establish whether a representative cross-section of Antarctic marine taxa and bio-geographic areas has been sequenced and to propose priorities for barcoding, with a particular emphasis on marine invertebrate species. It was found that, amongst marine invertebrate fauna, sequence information covers a limited range of taxa and areas—mainly Crustacea, Annelida and Mollusca from the Weddell Sea and the Antarctic Peninsula. Only 15% of genes sequenced in Antarctic marine invertebrates were the standard barcode gene cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (CO1), the majority were other nuclear and mitochondrial genes. There is an urgent need for more in-depth genetic barcoding and species identification studies in Antarctic science, from a range of taxa and areas, given the rate of climate-driven habitat changes that might lead to extinctions in the region. CAML hopes to redress the balance, by collecting and sequencing over the circum-Antarctic area, using material from voyages that occurred during 2008 and 2009, within the framework of the International Polar Year (IPY).


AntarcticBarcodingMolecular phylogeneticsMarine biodiversityInvertebrates

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Scott Polar Research InstituteUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.British Antarctic SurveyNatural Environmental Research CouncilCambridgeUK