Project Title: Taxonomic and Genetic Identification of Fisheries Bycatch of Deep-Sea Corals
Goal or Purpose

To compile a collection of samples (“vouchers”) of deep-sea corals from the North East Pacific Ocean that have been identified to the species level by using both morphology (form and structure) and DNA sequence “bar codes.”  As sufficient numbers of individuals of single species are added to the collection, our goal is to subsequently develop additional Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) markers that can be used to asses population structure and connectivity within species.

Anticipated Management Application(s)

A better understanding of population dynamics of deep-sea corals is necessary to further protection efforts for them, and reliable species designations are critical to that understanding. By creating a voucher collection for deep-sea corals and linking those vouchers to species-specific genetic sequences, taxonomic identifications can potentially be made using DNA sequences rather than sending individual specimens to one of the few morphological taxonomists in the country. Vouchers might also be used to assist with updating reference materials used to identify species as they are collected on the vessels involved with the surveys.  Once enough individuals within a species are added to our collection, we can develop population level markers which will allow us to address population structure and connectivity within species which is critical to management of the species.

Fiscal Funding:
  • FY 2009 @ $40,243
  • FY 2010 @ $39,741
  • FY 2011 @ $44,686
  • FY 2012 @ $100,000
  • FY 2013 @ $65,000
  • FY 2014 @ $77,000
  • FY 2015 @ $99,969
  • FY 2016 @ $100,000
Total Funding:

$566,639

 
Region(s):
  • Pacific Council
  • North Pacific Council
Location(s):
  •  None Defined.
Scanning Electron Microscope images of sclerites from Swiftia sp. showing the variety found. Credit: Carla Stehr, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries.
Project Type:
  • Genetics
Point of Contact: Office of the Point of Contact:
  • NMFS NWFSC
Team Members:
  • Meredith Everett
  • Linda Park
Project Title: Taxonomic and Genetic Identification of Fisheries Bycatch of Deep-Sea Corals
Methods/Approach

This project creates a DNA sequence repository and voucher collection of coral species found off the U.S. West Coast, and initial steps toward population-level analysis in deep-sea octocorals using microsatellite loci in a species of sea pen. We take genetic samples from specimens collected during the West Coast Groundfish Bottom Trawl Survey, and continue DNA sequencing of those specimens. We produce Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) images of the polyp and skeletal structures (sclerites) for each of our voucher specimens. The SEM images will greatly enhance our ability to identify coral specimens to the species level. We then link the DNA data and SEM images to our verified specimens to create a West Coast repository, that will serve not only as an essential resource for coral researchers and other stakeholders, but also as a foundation for future research efforts at the NWFSC aimed at understanding the biogeography and ecology of coral species in these deep-sea communities.

Project Results and Management Outcomes  None Defined
Project Title: Taxonomic and Genetic Identification of Fisheries Bycatch of Deep-Sea Corals
Internal References:
  •  None Defined
 
Backlinks:
  •  None Defined

FY09_14_image.jpg
Scanning Electron Microscope images of sclerites from Swiftia sp. showing the variety found. Credit: Carla Stehr, Northwest Fisheries Science Center, NOAA Fisheries.