Building the future by doing more together

LusoMarBol -Integrating molecular approaches into marine biodiversity research in Portugal: implementing DNA barcoding and investigating phylogeographic patterns
CESAM Responsible researcher - Marina R. Cunha
Programme - PTDC/MAR/69892/2006
Execution dates - 2008-11-01 - 2012-04-30 (42 Months)
Funding Entity - FCT
Funding for CESAM - 16800 €
Total Funding - 187491 €
Proponent Institution - Univ. Minho
Participating Institutions
Universidade de Aveiro

The science of species identification and classification of organisms is undergoing a major transformation. The Barcode of Life Initiative is an international collaborative effort which is promoting the development of a global species identification system based on the sequence analysis of a small portion of DNA. Rather than purely DNA-based taxonomy, this approach is designed to extend existing taxonomy practices. The current proposal seeks the support needed to launch DNA barcoding in Portugal through the establishment of a pilot research network focused on marine life. This project will provide the first national database integrating biogeographic, ecologic and molecular information on marine life, and it is confidently expected that our results will act as the national reference for future marine biodiversity studies. Our Network will also train specialized researchers with updated skills in taxonomic science, spanning both conventional and molecular taxonomy. Another important goal of our work will be the promotion of public scientific literacy in biodiversity and related biological and ecological issues. By assisting the international Barcoding effort, this project will contribute to the advancement of fundamental knowledge in metagenomics and evolution.The Barcoding methodology will involve: 1) extensive collection of specimens along the Portuguese mainland coast and offshore regions, 2) taxonomic identification and assembly of Reference Collections, 3) obtaining partial sequences (approximately 650 bp) of the mitochondrial gene cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) from voucher specimens, 4) databasing and data analysis. Several research teams with strong expertise in either traditional and/or molecular taxonomy are participants in this network. Our team has wide taxonomic expertise, covering the most important groups of marine fauna and macroalgae. The project will benefit from a close collaboration with the consultant's team, which will cover scientific advice and support, and also training of young researchers in barcoding methodology, and completion of a sizeable portion of molecular analyses. Ecological and environmental studies will greatly benefit from improved taxonomic and biogeographic data. Our work will also assist investigation of the structure and function of Portuguese marine ecosystems, and provide new insights on general patterns in species distribution and biodiversity in the North Atlantic. Public outreach and promotion of scientific literacy will be achieved mainly via production of an interactive DVD introducing marine biodiversity, and exploring related scientific, biological and environmental issues.

Members on this project

Ana Hilário


CESAM Funding: