Experts in identifying indicator species by DNA barcoding

Indicator species identification service for environmental monitoring

The identification of certain bioindicator organisms – such as soil invertebrates, phytoplankton, and benthic fauna – is a key step in any biodiversity monitoring program aimed at assessing ecosystem quality and health. This identification is generally based on morphological characters, which is time-consuming, expensive, and requires considerable taxonomic expertise. Additional factors, including high levels of cryptic diversity, frequent morphological stasis, lack of diagnostic characters in immature stages, and the so-called taxonomic impediment, make the species-level identification of these taxa particular challenging and prone to error.

DNA barcoding (i.e., the use of a short genomic region for species-level identification) can overcome many of these limitations and, hence, has become more and more used in biodiversity studies. On the one hand, DNA barcoding can be applied to standardise species identification, thus avoiding the recurrent problems of misidentification. On the other hand, DNA barcoding makes the description of cryptic species feasible and is applicable to any single specimen, even if it is damaged or in an immature stage of development (eggs, larvae…).

On the whole, our indicator species identification service for environmental monitoring provides a cost-effective tool to improve species resolution and obtain more accurate and reproducible biodiversity inventories.

This image shows a typical DNA barcoding workflow usually ordered by environmental agencies to detect bioindicator species. The workflow includes a series of steps such as DNA isolation, PCR amplification, sequencing, and bioinformatic analysis to identify the matching species.

Step 1

We isolate DNA from your samples. We have adapted different DNA isolation protocols, depending on the starting biological material.

Step 2

We amplify the genomic region of interest (the DNA barcode) using universal or in-house-developed primer pairs.

Step 3

We sequence the PCR products in both directions.

Step 4

We analyse the electropherograms obtained and compare the resulting sequences against reference databases to find the matching species.

What you receive

A specimen identification certificate.
A report with a summary of the methods followed.
The raw electropherogram files.

Your manually-edited sequences in FASTA format. If you require additional analyses, please let us know and we will do our best to meet your needs.
At no additional cost, our project specialists will be available to you after project delivery. We offer up to five 60-min sessions per project, depending on the project size.

What we need

Your tissue samples appropriately preserved depending on the sample type (ethanol, silica gel, frozen, or another suitable preservation method). If required, we provide sampling kits and sampling collection guidelines to ensure that your samples arrive at our lab in optimal conditions.

Contact us for further information and pricing