[Annelida] polychaetes for barcoding

Louise Allcock via annelida%40net.bio.net (by louise.allcock from gmail.com)
Thu Nov 5 05:28:45 EST 2009

Dear Geoff,
As co-ordinator of the Census of Marine Life bipolar project, I'm responding
on behalf of my colleague Jan Strugnell who mailed the polychaete list
requesting ethanol preserved tissue samples.  I'm CCing this to the
polychaete list as there may be others who are curious as to our intentions.
Firstly, let me reassure you that this is a properly planned project.  I
don't think it would be normal to circulate a project rationale and proposal
with a request for tissue samples, but I am happy to share information about
the work we are doing.
We did indeed start from a list drawn from a variety of sources, and I am
well aware that the list contained cosmopolitan species and species that are
now known to comprise a suite of cryptic species.  We also knew that some
species were likely to have been placed on the list through
misidentifications.  For this reason, we did not start collecting tissue
straight away, we contacted leading systematists and ask them to collaborate
with us.  We have a large number of collaborators (because we are working
across 13 phyla) and these include 3 polychaete taxonomists.  Hence we are
reasonably well informed about most species on our list (although I
acknowledge it is a broad list and we still have some queries which we are
However, to barcode only the very few species that remarkably do appear to
have a bipolar distribution would contribute very little to the debate,
hence we are attempting to barcode some with cosmopolitan distributions,
some which our collaborating systematists think should be split into a suite
of species as well as those with disjunct distributions.  We have also
included some whose range extent does not quite reach the high Arctic and/or
high Antarctic because this enlarges the number of species encompassed
adding additional biogeographic data.
As my colleague Jan mentioned, any tissue samples will be processed through
the Guelph barcode facility.  This means that voucher specimens will be
preserved to confirm the identity of each species sequenced and placed in a
public institution where all researchers will have access to them, and the
barcode information will be made available through Genbank and BOLD.  We
consider this very important since the bipolar debate has probably been
fuelled in part by past misidentifications.
Geoff, I was delighted to hear that you will make some tissue available.  I
really do appreciate this.
Please send it me at:

Dr Louise Allcock
The Martin Ryan Marine Science Institute
National University of Ireland Galway
University Road

[Please note there are no postcodes for this part of Ireland]

If you send me entire specimens, then I will arrange to deposit vouchers in
a museum.  In your case however, I imagine that vouchers are already
deposited with NIWA, in which case I would appreciate getting voucher
information together with the specimens.
Please just email me if you have any queries (and this applies to anyone
else reading this who thinks they may have tissue of interest to us).
Best wishes,

Dr Louise Allcock
Co-editor, Journal of Natural History
Adjunct Lecturer, Martin Ryan Marine Science Institute, Galway
+353 (0)91 495868

How useful are the recommended counts and indices in the systematics of the
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