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DNA Barcodes

Ed. by Mitchell, Andrew

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Status of DNA Barcoding Coverage for the Tropical Western Atlantic Shorefishes and Reef Fishes

Benjamin C. Victor / Martha Valdez-Moreno
  • Departamento de Ecologia y Sistematica Acuatica, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
/ Lourdes Vásquez-Yeomans
  • Departamento de Ecologia y Sistematica Acuatica, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Other articles by this author:
  • De Gruyter OnlineGoogle Scholar
Published Online: 2015-11-26 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dna-2015-0011


Background: Barcode coverage is difficult to assess for large regions due to incomplete species lists, inaccurate identifications, and cryptic diversity. However, as coverage approaches completion, it becomes possible to critically evaluate identifications and validate barcode lineages. We collate the results of the FISH-BOL barcode project and assess coverage for each family of bony shorefishes and reef fishes from the tropical western Atlantic Ocean. Methodology: We identify to species the public and private barcode lineages from the region on BOLD, confirming identifications by vouchers, phylogeographic deduction, and the process of elimination. The lineages and BINs are assigned to species from a comprehensive species list for the region. Results: We estimate 1029 of 1311 total bony shorefish species in the region are barcoded (78.5%). For reef-associated fishes, 902 of 1083 species are barcoded (83.3%). About 70 of the 181 species not yet barcoded are endemic species from Florida/ Gulf of Mexico or Venezuela, leaving about 90% of the central Caribbean reef fish species barcoded to date. Most species are represented by one barcode lineage, but among the gobioids and blennioids there are many more lineages (BINs) than species, indicating substantial cryptic diversity. Conclusions: As barcode coverage for a region approaches completion, a robust assessment of coverage can be made. The reef fish fauna of the tropical western Atlantic now has the highest coverage for a large marine area, from about 80 to 90% depending on definitions and geographic limits.

Keywords: Mitochondrial DNA; coral reefs; Caribbean; taxonomy; biogeography; species list; phylogenetics


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About the article

Received: 2015-01-26

Accepted: 2015-07-13

Published Online: 2015-11-26

Published in Print: 2015-01-01

Citation Information: DNA Barcodes, ISSN (Online) 2299-1077, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/dna-2015-0011.

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© 2015. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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