Antarctic DNA barcoding; a drop in the ocean?
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Coordinated, circum-Antarctic sampling expeditions during International Polar Year 2008/09 have given access to comprehensive collections suitable for DNA barcoding. Collaborations between the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML), the Marine Barcode of Life project and the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding have enabled the Antarctic scientific community to initiate large-scale DNA barcoding projects to record the genetic diversity of Antarctic marine fauna, coordinated by the CAML Barcoding Campaign. A total of 20,355 marine specimens from more than 2,000 morphospecies covering 18 phyla are in the processing pipeline, and to date, 11,530 sequences have been processed with the remainder due by the end of 2010. Here, we present results on the current geographic and taxonomic coverage of DNA barcode data in the Southern Ocean and identify the remaining gaps. We show how DNA barcoding in the Antarctic is answering important questions regarding marine genetic diversity and challenging current assumptions of species distribution at the poles.