Canadian flora and fauna

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Welcome to the new Canadian Barcode of Life Network website. The Canadian Barcode of Life Network represents the first national network dedicated to large-scale DNA barcoding. The network itself is made up of nearly 50 researchers from across the country who are working towards the development and application of DNA technologies in the area of species identifications. Initial work focuses on barcoding species which are of particular economic, social, or environmental importance. These efforts promise to make important contributions to biodiversity research, and maintain Canada's place as a leader in the development of DNA barcoding.

What's New

Jul 13, 2010 – Media Publications
Barcoding Life to Conserve Biological Diversity: Beyond the Taxonomic Imperative

Barcoding scientists aspire to adhere to the objectives of the Convention on Biological Diversity by promoting conservation, sustainability, and the equitable sharing of benefits arising from use of genetic resources.

May 01, 2010 – Media Publications
Assessing the value of DNA barcodes and other priority gene regions for molecular phylogenetics of Lepidoptera

BACKGROUND: Despite apparently abundant amounts of observable variation and species diversity, the order Lepidoptera exhibits a morphological homogeneity that has provided only a limited number of taxonomic characters and led to widespread use of nucleotides for inferring relationships. This study aims to characterize and develop methods to quantify the value of priority gene regions designated for Lepidoptera molecular systematics. In particular, I assess how the DNA barcode segment of the mitochondrial COI gene performs across a broad temporal range given its number one position of priority, most sequenced status, and the conflicting opinions on its phylogenetic performance. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Gene regions commonly sequenced for lepidoptera phylogenetics were scored using multiple measures across three categories: practicality, which includes universality of primers and sequence quality; phylogenetic utility; and phylogenetic signal. I found that alternative measures within a category often appeared correlated, but high scores in one category did not necessarily translate into high scores in another. The DNA barcode was easier to sequence than other genes, and had high scores for utility but low signal above the genus level. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: Given limited financial resources and time constraints, careful selection of gene regions for molecular phylogenetics is crucial to avoid wasted effort producing partially informative data. This study introduces an approach to assessing the value of gene regions prior to the initiation of new studies and presents empirical results to help guide future selections.

May 01, 2010 – Media Publications
DNA barcodes provide new evidence of a recent radiation in the genus Sporophila (Aves: Passeriformes)

The capuchinos are a group of birds in the genus Sporophila that has apparently radiated recently, as evidenced by their lack of mitochondrial genetic diversity. We obtained cytochrome c oxidase I (COI) sequences (or DNA barcodes) for the 11 species of the group and various outgroups. We compared the patterns of COI variability of the capuchinos with those of the largest barcode data set from neotropical birds currently available (500 species representing 51% of avian richness in Argentina), and subjected COI sequences to neighbour-joining, maximum parsimony and Bayesian phylogenetic analyses as well as statistical parsimony network analysis. A clade within the capuchinos, the southern capuchinos, showed higher intraspecific and lower interspecific divergence than the remaining Argentine species. As most of the southern capuchinos shared COI haplotypes and pairwise distances within species were in many cases higher than distances between them, the phylogenetic affinities within the group remained unresolved. The observed genetic pattern is consistent with both incomplete lineage sorting and gene flow between species. The southern capuchinos constitute the only large group of species among the neotropical birds barcoded so far that are inseparable when using DNA barcodes, and one of few multispecies avian groups known to lack reciprocal monophyly. Extending the analysis to rapidly evolving nuclear and mitochondrial markers will be crucial to understanding this radiation. Apart from giving insights into the evolution of the capuchinos, this study shows how DNA barcoding can rapidly flag species or groups of species worthy of deeper study.

May 01, 2010 – Media Publications
Identity of the ailanthus webworm moth (Lepidoptera, Yponomeutidae), a complex of two species: evidence from DNA barcoding, morphology and ecology

During extensive ongoing campaigns to inventory moths of North America and Area de Conservacion Guanacaste (ACG), northwestern Costa Rica, we discovered that morphologically similar yponomeutid moths were assigned two different names, Atteva ergatica Walsingham in Costa Rica and A. punctella (Stoll) in North America, but had identical DNA barcodes. Combining DNA barcoding, morphology and food plant records also revealed a complex of two sympatric species that are diagnosable by their DNA barcodes and their facies in Costa Rica. However, neither of the names could be correctly applied to either species, as A. ergatica is a junior synonym and A. punctella a junior homonym. By linking our specimens to type material through morphology and DNA barcoding, we determined that the ACG dry forest species, distributed from Costa Rica to southern Quebec and Ontario, should be called A. aurea, whereas the similar and marginally sympatric ACG rain forest species found in Central America should be called A. pustulella. Neotypes are designated for Phalaena Tinea  punctella Stoll, 1781 and Deiopeia aurea Fitch, 1857. Atteva floridana has identical barcodes to A. aurea and provisionally maintained as a synonym.

Apr 01, 2010 – Media Publications
DNA barcoding is a powerful tool to uncover algal diversity: A case study of the Phyllophoraceae (Gigartinales, Rhodophyta) in the Canadian flora

Previous studies have established that the 5' end of the mitochondrial gene COI (cytochrome oxidase subunit I) is useful for rapid and reliable identification of red algal species and have demonstrated that our understanding of red algal biodiversity and biogeography is fragmentary. In this context, we are completing a thorough sampling along the Canadian coast and using the DNA barcode for the assignment of collections to genetic species to explore algal diversity in the Canadian flora. In the present study, we provide results regarding diversity of members of the red algal family Phyllophoraceae. We have analyzed 354 individuals from the Arctic, Atlantic, and Pacific coasts of Canada, as well as 26 specimens from the USA, Europe, and Australia, resolving 29 species based on the analyses of the DNA barcode. Twenty-three of these genetic species were present in Canada where only 18 species are currently recognized, including Ceratocolax hartzii Rosenv., which was in the same genetic species group as its host Coccotylus truncatus (Pall.) M. J. Wynne et N. J. Heine and is thus transferred to Coccotylus, C. hartzii (Rosenv.) comb. nov., but retained as a distinct species owing to its unique habit and phenology. Our results revealed the presence of cryptic diversity within the genera Coccotylus, Mastocarpus, Ozophora, and Stenogramme, for which we resurrect Coccotylus brodiei (Turner) Kütz. and describe Mastocarpus pachenicus sp. nov., Ozophora lanceolata sp. nov., and Stenogramme bamfieldiensis sp. nov., leaving a multitude of unnamed Mastocarpus spp. in need of further taxonomic study. In addition, we report range extensions into British Columbia of Besa papillaeformis Setch., previously known only from its type and nearby localities in California; Gymnogongrus crenulatus (Turner) J. Agardh, recorded only from the Atlantic; and Stenogramme cf. rhodymenioides Joly et Alveal, previously only known from South America. Finally, the phylogenetic affinities of the Canadian species of Phyllophoraceae characterized in this study were investigated using LSU rDNA, RUBISCO LSU (rbcL), and combined analyses.

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