The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) offers a sensitive and selective way to detect trace amounts of biological remnants. Here, we show that this simple molecular technique can be applied to identify prey copepods in the fecal pellets of carnivorous zooplankton. Using variation in the mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase subunit I (mtCOI) sequence, we developed a species-specific oligonucleotide PCR primer (COI-2026) for Calanus helgolandicus. In a "touch-down" PCR, Calanus DNA was amplified from pellets collected from freshly incubated individuals of the carnivorous copepod Pareuchaeta norvegica. Positive results could easily be detected by agarose gel electrophoresis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Aquatic Science