Metadata standards and practical guidelines for specimen and DNA curation when building barcode reference libraries for aquatic life

Frédéric Rimet, Eva Aylagas, Ángel Borja, Agnès Bouchez, Alexis Canino, Christian Chauvin, Teofana Chonova, Fedor Ciampor Jr, Filipe O. Costa, Benoit J. D. Ferrari, Romain Gastineau, Chloé Goulon, Muriel Gugger, Maria Holzmann, Regine Jahn, Maria Kahlert, Wolf-Henning Kusber, Christophe Laplace-Treyture, Florian Leese, Frederik LeliaertDavid G. Mann, Frédéric Marchand, Vona Méléder, Jan Pawlowski, Serena Rasconi, Sinziana Rivera, Rodolphe Rougerie, Magali Schweizer, Rosa Trobajo, Valentin Vasselon, Régis Vivien, Alexander Weigand, Andrzej Witkowski, Jonas Zimmermann, Torbjørn Ekrem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


DNA barcoding and metabarcoding is increasingly used to effectively and precisely assess and monitor biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems. As these methods rely on data availability and quality of barcode reference libraries, it is important to develop and follow best practices to ensure optimal quality and traceability of the metadata associated with the reference barcodes used for identification. Sufficient metadata, as well as vouchers, corresponding to each reference barcode must be available to ensure reliable barcode library curation and, thereby, provide trustworthy baselines for downstream molecular species identification. This document (1) specifies the data and metadata required to ensure the relevance, the accessibility and traceability of DNA barcodes and (2) specifies the recommendations for DNA harvesting and for the storage of both voucher specimens/samples and barcode data.
Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalMetabarcoding and Metagenomics
StatePublished - Feb 26 2021

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2021-03-03
Acknowledgements: Patricia Mergen (Botanical Garden of Meise, Belgium) is thanked for introducing experts who co-authored this paper. We thank Charlotte Duval and Claude Yéprémian of the MNHN (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris, France) for their comments. We acknowledge Axel Hausmann, Matthias F. Geiger and two additional anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments.
This paper was written under COST Action DNAqua-Net. The European COST Action DNAqua-Net (CA 15219 is a collaborative network which gathers several hundreds of scientists and water managers, with the objective of developing new genetic tools for bioassessment and monitoring of aquatic ecosystems (Leese et al. 2016). Reference libraries, together with their feasibility and quality, are one of the most important subjects of DNAqua-Net and several meetings highlighted the need to improve the reference data and maintain their quality and reliability. This has been formalised in the discussion of Weigand et al. (2019).


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