Forensic DNA genotyping of pelagic marine fish larvae sampled across the Western North Atlantic Continental Shelf

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Cole, Amanda M
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This project generated an archive of purified genomic DNA from 300 pelagic marine fish larvae collected through the CofC Transects program from November 2003-November 2005 at 20 oceanic sampling stations spanning the continental shelf of South Carolina. High phenotypic plasticity of open-ocean larval organisms prohibits their reliable identification by conventional morphological character analysis. Therefore PCR amplification and DNA sequencing of Cytochrome Oxidase subunit 1 (CO1), a mitochondrial protein encoding gene, and the non-coding mitochondrial D-loop was used to forensically genotype larvae at two distinct loci. Of the 300 samples processed, over 100 yielded clean target sequences. PCR products were analyzed by agarose gel electrophoresis prior to sequencing, and online BLAST-based informatics of genomic data revealed taxonomic diversity of more than 25 distinct families of fishes. These successful genotyping results are being integrated with physical oceanography and biogeography to help bridge a large gap in our ability to model juvenile recruitment and community dynamics of ecologically important pelagic fish populations.
larval fish, forensic genotyping, DNA barcoding, coastal Atlantic fisheries