One of our objectives is to contribute to the Barcode of Life project. Molecular barcoding is providing valuable information on the species richness of marine communities.


DNA barcoding is a technique that uses a short gene sequence from a standardized region of the genome as a diagnostic 'biomarker' for species. Different species have different DNA barcodes, making it possible to use barcodes to

  • identify specimens
  • discover new species
  • make taxonomy more effective for science and society

Scientists will build an inventory of the Antarctic benthic and pelagic biota to understand the biological diversity of this unique environment. The inventory will include invertebrates and vertebrates.

Sampling protocols

Barcoding sampling [PDF, 96 KB]


Coral sampling protocol [ PDF, 648 KB]

Barcoding News Summer 2009

1. CAML establishes a supply agreement with the Canadian Center for DNA Barcoding (CCDB)

The census of Antarctic Marine Life has established a supply agreement with the CCDB in Guelph.


An additional 4500 Antarctic samples will be processed in Guelph over the coming year, in the following groups: Echinoderms (including crinoids and asteroids), Ascidians, Crustaceans and Arthropods (sea-spiders) and gastropod molluscs.


Anyone with additional Antarctic material that they would like to be sequenced at Guelph, should contact Rachel Grant as soon as possible.

2. CAML barcoding reaches 10,000 DNA sequences

CAML Barcoding has identified more than 10,000 Antarctic marine DNA sequences, with another 8000 in the pipeline, and expected within the coming year.


This has been achieved by a high level of co-operation from the Antarctic community, a great deal of help from the CCDB – thank you to everyone who has been involved!

3. CAML barcoding represents diverse marine phyla

CAML is committed to barcoding across the whole spectrum of marine biodiversity.


This is a challenge as efforts are often concentrated on particular phyla, and barcoding protocols are more established in some groups than others.


CAML Barcoding currently has sequences from the following:

  • Chordata (including penguins, seals and fish)
  • Tubulinea
  • Marine Bacteria and Proteobacteria
  • Porifera
  • Echinodermata
  • Crustacea
  • Mollusca
  • Nemertea
  • Annelida
  • Chelicerata
  • Cnidaria
  • Sipuncula
  • Protoctista (Rhodophyta, Chlorphyta, Phaeophyta, Ocrophyta , Haptophyta)
  • Arthropoda
  • Chaetognatha
  • Foraminifera
  • Fungi
  • Symplasma
  • Acanthocephala
  • Bryozoa

4. Grant & Linse (2009) Barcoding Antarctic Biodiversity; current status and the CAML initiative, a case study of marine invertebrates. In press, Polar Biology.

Look out for this article, which is in press with Polar Biology and should be published shortly.


It will give updates on CAML’s barcoding work as well as the status of the barcoding initiative in marine invertebrate species.


It also identifies gaps in our knowledge with the hope of encouraging barcoding efforts in those areas.


CAML identifies 3000 sequences

The Census of Antarctic Marine Life has identified more than 3000 DNA sequences from species with Antarctic distribution.


These sequences will be linked with the database SCAR-MarBIN to facilitate detailed phylogenetic and phylogeographic analyses.


Graph of DNA sequences identified during CAML research



Contribute to CAML‘s Barcoding initiative — You can contribute to CAML barcoding by submitting your sequences and⁄or accession numbers, along with associated data (such as lat⁄long and depth of collection and voucher number) to CAML. All submitted sequences will be properly acknowledged.


Please direct DNA barcoding enquiries to Rachel.

Barcoding employee appointed

Rachel Grant has joined the crew as the barcoding coordinator in a part time position, based in Cambridge UK.


She graduated in biology at Manchester University, and then completed a postgraduate diploma at Southampton University in animal behaviour. In 2000 she worked for the BioIndustry Association, managing business information databases for the Biotech Industry. In 2003 Rachel started an Open University PhD looking at amphibian breeding phenology, which is still ongoing. She currently works part time in the Oxford University Zoology Department on the genetics and evolution of Ciona intestinalis. Rachel will be working with CAML's Scientific Steering Committee to coordinate the barcoding (DNA fingerprinting) aspects of over 6,500 species of fauna from Antarctic waters.


Please direct DNA barcoding enquiries to Rachel.


Cousteau ATS International Polar Year 2007-2008 SCAR MarBin CCAMLR SCAR COMNAP Census of Marine Life