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MetaZooGene: Metabarcoding Zooplankton Diversity is endorsed as a new UN Ocean Decade Action (No. 102.2; see https://www.oceandecade.org). The project is attached to the Ocean Decade Programme, Marine Life 2030 (see https://marinelife2030.org).

 

MetaZooGene (SCOR WG157; https://metazoogene.org) seeks new knowledge of patterns of biodiversity of marine zooplankton using integrative molecular (DNA barcoding and metabarcoding) and morphological (microscopic) analysis as a key to better understanding of pelagic ecosystem function and responses to climate change.

 

In partnership with Marine Life 2030, MetaZooGene will work toward a global vision for integrative molecular – morphological taxonomic analysis of marine zooplankton biodiversity. The overarching goal is to promote and facilitate DNA barcoding and metabarcoding to characterize local-to-global patterns of biodiversity and biogeography of zooplankton. Applications include monitoring of ecosystem health, rapid detection of impacts of climate change, characterization of food webs, and identification of introduced and non-indigenous species. Deliverables include taxonomically-comprehensive global-scale DNA sequence reference databases for barcode gene regions (see https://metazoogene.org/database) required for species identification. Recommendations for best practices will be documented in review papers in peer-reviewed open access journals. Capacity-building goals will be met through symposia for early career scientists and those from developing countries, to be held in association with international conferences.