What is Metabarcoding

Metabarcoding is the large-scale taxonomic identification of complex environmental samples via analysis of DNA sequences for short regions of one or a few genes (called DNA barcodes). Metabarcoding relies on high-throughput DNA sequencing (HTS) technologies, which yield millions of DNA sequences in parallel and allow large-scale analysis of environmental samples. The taxonomic complexity of marine zooplankton makes metabarcoding particularly useful for characterization of biodiversity. The assemblage includes representatives of more than 16 phyla (major groups of organisms); the presence of numerous cryptic, rare, and novel species; and high local-to-global ratios of species diversity.

Metabarcoding is providing important new insights into the ‘hidden diversity’ of marine zooplankton. A compelling question driving development of this new methodology is that the number of species occurring in the pelagic realm remains unknown. Additional promising applications of metabarcoding include rapid detection of impacts of climate change, monitoring and assessment of ecosystem health, characterization of food webs, and detection of introduced and non-indigenous species.


For More Information:

 Additional papers by MetaZooGene WG157 members are listed in the "Recommended Readingmenu.

 An overview of the application of metabarcoding to marine zooplankton is available here:

Bucklin, A., Lindeque, P.K., Rodriguez-Ezpeleta, N., Albaina, A., and M. Lehtiniemi 2016.  Metabarcoding of marine zooplankton: prospects, progress and pitfalls. Journal of Plankton Research. 38: 393-400.  doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbw023

Click here for a PDF of this paper.     Cick here to download the open-access PDF from the Journal of Plankton Research.