SCOR Working Group 157

Toward a new global view of marine zooplankton biodiversity based on DNA metabarcoding and reference DNA sequence databases (MetaZooGene)

Hauling in the MOCNESS (P.H. Wiebe, WHOI)

Zooplankton are small animals (many are microscopic) that spend their lives drifting with ocean currents.  They play an essential role in ocean ecosystems, transferring energy and elements (carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus) in marine food webs. Zooplankton eat tiny single-celled organisms, including the phytoplankton that capture the sun’s energy for ocean life. In turn, they are food for larger organisms, including fish, birds, and whales. Zooplankton are ‘rapid responders’ to biological and physical conditions, and are thus useful indicators of environmental variation and climate change. They are a complex assemblage, including more than 6,000 known species spanning most major groups (phyla) of animals.  Many more species are unseen and unknown, with estimates of the unknown ranging widely.  One promising approach to understanding the many questions surrounding biodiversity of zooplankton is through DNA-based analysis. Recent advances in molecular genetics have opened doors to rapid DNA sequencing of complex environmental samples.  Researchers throughout the world are studying marine zooplankton using these novel DNA-based approaches using a variety of techniques, including different target genes and different ways of analyzing the millions of DNA sequences produced.  This working group will facilitate global cooperation, ensure open access to data and direct comparison of results from different studies, encourage standardization of methods for applied uses in ocean assessment, and accelerate progress using novel DNA-based approaches to understand biodiversity and roles of zooplankton in ocean ecosystems.

Ann Bucklin (USA)
K.T.C.A. (Katja) Peijnenburg (Netherlands) and Ksenia Kosobokova (Russia)
Other Full Members
Leocadio Blanco-Bercial (Bermuda), Tone Falkenhaug (Norway), Junya Hirai (Japan), Jenny Huggett (South Africa), Chaolun Li (China-Beijing), Ryuji Machida (China-Taipei), and Todd O'Brien (USA)
Associate Members
Georgina Cepeda (Argentina), Keun-Hyung Choi (South Korea), Astrid Cornils (Germany), Iole DiCapua (Italy), Ruben Escribano (Chile), Erica Goetze (USA), Aino Hosia (Norway), Silke Lakmann (Germany), Pennie Lindeque (UK), Mary Mar Noblezada (Philippines), Naiara Rodriguez-Ezpeleta (Spain), Leonie Suter (Australia), Agata Weydmann (Poland), Alana Jute (Trinidad & Tobago), and Tamar Guy-Haim (Israel)
Judith Gobin
Terms of Reference
  1. Create an open-access web portal for DNA barcodes for marine zooplankton

  2. Design an optimal DNA barcoding pipeline for marine zooplankton

  3. Develop best practices for DNA metabarcoding of marine zooplankton biodiversity

September 2018
Financial Sponsors
  1. 13-14 September 2019 in Gothenburg, Sweden

  2. 16 February 2020 in San Diego, California, USA

  3. June 2021 (online)

  4. February 2022 (online)

  5. 23 September 2022, Dublin, Ireland

Group Website
  • Laakmann, S., Blanco-Bercial, L., Cornils, A. 2020. The crossover from microscopy to genes in marine diversity – from species to assemblages in marine pelagic copepods. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 375: 20190446.

  • Kolbasova G, Kosobokova K, Neretina T (2020) Bathy- and mesopelagic annelida from the Arctic Ocean: Description of new, redescription of known and notes on some “cosmopolitan” species. Deep–Sea Res I 165:103327.

  • Bucklin, A., Peijnenburg, K.T.C.A., Kosobokova, K., and Machida, R.J. (2021) New insights into biodiversity, biogeography, ecology, and evolution of marine zooplankton based on molecular approaches. ICES Journal of Marine Sciences,

  • Bucklin, A., Peijnenburg, K.T.C.A., Kosobokova, K.N., O’Brien, T.D., Blanco-Bercial, L., Cornils, A., Falkenhaug, T., Hopcroft, R.R., Hosia, A., Laakmann, S., Li, C., Martell, L., Questel, J.M., Wall-Palmer, D., Wang, M., Wiebe, P.H., and Weydmann-Zwolicka, A. (2021) Toward a global reference database of COI barcodes for marine zooplankton. Marine Biology, 168, 1–26.

  • Bucklin, A., Questel, J. M., Blanco-Bercial, L., Frenzel, A., Smolenack, S., and Wiebe, P.H. (2021) Population connectivity of the euphausiid, Stylocheiron elongatum, in the Gulf Stream (NW Atlantic Ocean) in relation to COI barcode diversity of Stylocheiron species. ICES Journal of Marine Science,

  • Di Capua, I., Piredda, R., Mazzocchi, M.G., and Zingone, A. (2021) Metazoan diversity and seasonality through eDNA metabarcoding at a Mediterranean long-term ecological research site. ICES Journal of Marine Science,

  • Machida, R.J., Kurihara, H., Nakajima, R., Sakamaki, T., Lin, Y.-Y., and Furusawa, K. (2021) Comparative analysis of zooplankton diversities and compositions estimated from complement DNA and genomic DNA amplicons, metatranscriptomics, and morphological identifications. ICES Journal of Marine Science,

  • Matthews, S.A., Goetze, E., and Ohman, M.D. (2021) Recommendations for interpreting zooplankton metabarcoding and integrating molecular methods with morphological analyses. ICES Journal of Marine Science,

  • Parry, H.E., Atkinson, A., Somerfield, P.J., and Lindeque, P.K. (2021) A metabarcoding comparison of taxonomic richness and composition between the water column and the benthic boundary layer. ICES Journal of Marine Science,

  • Di Capua, I., D’Angiolo, R., Piredda, R., Minucci, C., Boero, F., Uttieri, M., et al. (2022). From Phenotypes to Genotypes and Back: Toward an Integrated Evaluation of Biodiversity in Calanoid Copepods. Front. Mar. Sci. 9, 833089. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2022.833089.
  • Bucklin, A., Batta-Lona, P. G., Questel, J. M., Wiebe, P. H., Richardson, D. E., Copley, N. J., et al. (2022). COI Metabarcoding of Zooplankton Species Diversity for Time-Series Monitoring of the NW Atlantic Continental Shelf. Front. Mar. Sci. 9, 867893. doi: 10.3389/fmars.2022.867893.
  • Huggett, J. A., Groeneveld, J. C., Singh, S. P., Willows-Munro, S., Govender, A., Cedras, R., et al. (2022). Metabarcoding of zooplankton to derive indicators of pelagic ecosystem status. S. Afr. J. Sci. 118. doi: 10.17159/sajs.2022/12977.
  • Bucklin, A., Questel, J. M., Batta-Lona, P. G., Reid, M., Wiebe, P. H., Campbell, R. G., & Ashjian, C. J. (2023) Population genetic diversity and structure of the euphausiids Thysanoessa inermis and T. raschii in the Arctic Ocean: Inferences from COI barcodes. Marine Biodiversity 53:70.

  • O’Brien, T. D., Blanco-Bercial, L., Batta-Lona, P. G., Questel, J. M., & Bucklin, A. (2024) DNA barcode reference databases: MetaZooGene Atlas and Database. In: DNA Barcoding: Methods and Protocols (Robert Desalle, Ed.); Springer Protocols Methods in Molecular Biology 2744 (Humana Press) ISBN-13: 978-1071635803.