DNA barcoding has proven an effective tool for species identification in varied groups of marine invertebrates including crustaceans, molluscs, polychaetes and echinoderms. In this study, we further validate its utility by analyzing almost half of the 300 species of Echinodermata known from Canadian waters. COI sequences from 999 specimens were assigned to 145 BINs. In most cases, species discrimination was straightforward due to the large difference (25-fold) between mean intra- (0.48%) and inter- (12.0%) specific divergence. Six species were flagged for further taxonomic investigation because specimens assigned to them fell into two or three discrete sequence clusters. The potential influence of larval dispersal capacity and glacial events on patterns of genetic diversity is discussed for 19 trans-oceanic species. Although additional research is needed to clarify biogeographic patterns and resolve taxonomic questions, this study represents an important step in the assembly of a DNA barcode library for all Canadian echinoderms, a valuable resource for future biosurveillance programs.
Bibliographical noteFunding: This research was funded, in part, by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) through a Discovery Grant to PDNH and a postgraduate scholarship to EAC. Sequence analysis was enabled by funding from the government of Canada through Genome Canada and the Ontario Genomics Institute in support of the International Barcode of Life Project (OGI-036). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.
We thank Bridgette Clarkston, Christina Carr, Claudia Hand, Jeremy deWaard, Jim Boutillier, Katy Hind, Robert Frank, Sandra McCubbin, Tanya Brown, Tom Sheldon, and Victoria Frank for contributing specimens and aiding in collections. Kelly Sendall kindly provided access to the echinoderm collections at the Royal British Columbia Museum while we deeply appreciate the help that Chris Mah, Melissa Frey, and Phil Lambert provided with identifications. We also thank staff at the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding in the CBG for their aid in sequence acquisition. Lastly, we thank O.S. Klanten and two anonymous reviewers for their helpful suggestions on earlier versions of this manuscript.