There is a large number of research projects that involve DNA barcoding in Norway. In addition to projects that contribute to the building of the DNA barcode reference library, there is an increasing number of projects that apply DNA barcoding in taxonomy, food security and environmental research.
As national infrastructure on DNA barcoding (from 2014) NorBOL aims to build a national barcode library of 20 000 species and contribute to the International Barcode of Life project. We have so far focused our work on four areas (see below), but have now expanded our work to include more regions and taxonomic groups. As the work on the barcode library proceeds, coordination of the activity will be increasingly important to avoid work duplication and overlap. The responsibility for coordination of barcode activity in various taxonomic group has therefore been divided among the university museums:
- NTNU University Museum (contact Aina Mærk Aspaas): bryophytes (Bryophyta), collembolans (Collembola), mayflies (Ephemeroptera), stoneflies (Plecoptera), dragonflies & damselflies (Odonata), caddisflies(Trichoptera), alderflies, dobsonflies & fishflies (Megaloptera), mites (Acari), dipterans (Diptera).
- Natural History Museum, UiO (kontakt Gunnhild Marthinsen): basidiomycetes (Basidiomycota), lichens (Lichenes), myriapods (Myriapoda), orthopterans (Orthoptera), hemipterans (Hemiptera), lacewings and relatives (Neuroptera), skorpionflies (Mecoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), butterflies & moths (Lepidoptera), hymenopterans (Hymenoptera), spiders (Araneae), harvestmen (Opiliones), reptiles (Reptilia), amphibians (Amphibia), birds (Aves), mammals (Mammalia), freshwater fishes (Pisces).
- University Museum of Bergen, UiB (kontakt Katrine Kongshavn): macro algae, sponges (Porifera), cnidarians (Cnidaria), annelids (Annelida), branchiopods (Branchiopoda), ostracods (Ostracoda), copepods (Copepoda), branchiurans (Branchiura), barnacles (Cirripedia), malacostracans (Malacostraca), pycnogonids (Pycnogonida), bryozoans (Bryozoa), mollusks (Mollusca), brachiopods (Brachipoda), echinoderms (Echinodermata), tunicates (Tunicata), marine fish (Pisces).
- Tromsø Museum, UiT (kontakt Marie Kristine Føreid): vascular plants (Tracheophyta), ascomycetes (Ascomycota).
A database of barcoded species from Norway is available here: search.norbol.org.
DNA barcoding of material from the Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative
Most projects funded by the Norwegian Taxonomy Initiative (NTI) involve DNA barcoding of the project material. NorBOL provides advise and technical assistance in sampling, photographing and uploading of data to BOLD. The activity is highest at the university museums where most of the material later is deposited as voucher specimens. These instituttions also have the longest experience with DNA barcoding, but other NorBOL institutions may be involved. Contact person is Torbjørn Ekrem.
DNA barcoding of marine invertebrates in Norway
The University Museum of Bergen has in recent years been actively involved in the collection of marine invertebrates that are well suited for DNA barcoding. The material is partly obtained through extensive inventories in the Skagerrak, the northwest coast, and the MAREANO-project in northern Norway. The collection, processing and identification of marine organisms often is very resource-demanding. Thus, DNA barcoding of material collected through inventories and other research projects is practical and economical and will increase its scientific value. Despite the importance of marine life in Norway, only around 1% of the known marine invertebrate fauna has so far been barcoded. NorBOL aims to increase this percentage considerably and contribute to iBOL reaching its ambitious goal of 100,000 species by 2015. Contact person is Endre Willassen.
DNA barcoding of terrestrial vascular plants and fungi
This work package focused on the DNA barcoding of 2000 terrestrial vascular plants and 800 species of fungi from northern Norway stored at the Tromsø University Museum. NorBOL is a regional node in iBOL with a special responsibility for northern regions and this project is an important contribution to the iBOL working group on Polar Life (WG 1:10). For vascular plants, we used a very advanced method called low coverage shotgun sequencing of genomic DNA. This will allow us to assemble the whole chloroplast genome and nuclear ribosomal sequences. By doing this, we overcome the limitation of standard barcodes in vascular plants and build a reference library useful for e.g. studies of phylogeny, comparative analyses of organelle genome evolution, and new plant barcodes for selective taxa and/or ancient DNA samples. Contact person is Inger Greve Alsos.
DNA barcoding of specimens from scientific collections
Material in scientific collections are valuable to DNA barcoding because it is quality assured with respect to dentification and meta-data. Moreover, DNA barcoding of pinned insects has proven to be very effective when generating barcodes of many species and specimens. This package focused specifically on the utilization of already collected and databased material and the work was largely performed by biology students at the University of Oslo. The Natural History Museum in Oslo was responsible for the work package, contact person is Arild Johnsen.