Molecular characterization and phylogenetics of Indian polychaete fauna: scope for implementation in ecological monitoring
DNA barcodes are increasingly applied to ascertain the taxonomic identification to improve the speed and accuracy of ecological monitoring programmes. The success of integrating molecular approach in routine surveys ultimately depends on the coverage of reference libraries that require constant upgradation. The present molecular study was aimed at strengthening the genetic database of Polychaeta, which at present is poorly constructed. The current effort is first of its kind that covered a large geographical area along the northwest India. The study has contributed in building a comprehensive COI database of polychaete taxocene that included new records of one family, four genera and six species. The phylogenetic analysis revealed presence of 19 distinct clades, each comprising of individual family with studied polychaete species and conspecific/congeneric reference sequences. This is the first analysis that revealed a close relationship between Longosomatidae and Cirratulidae, rather than Spioniform polychaetes. Thus, the phylogenetic information was useful in distinguishing the polychaete species in the study region. Molecular analysis also facilitated the identification of potentially new Streblospio sp. that displayed close morphological as well as genetic affinity with S. gynobranchiata, with an inter-specific distance of 0.11. The present study proves the effectiveness of molecular characterization and phylogenetics in delineating the Indian polychaete species complex for ecological monitoring. The reference database can aid the high-throughput biomonitoring programmes in future.
KeywordsEcological monitoring DNA barcoding Polychaeta Northwest Indian coast
Authors express their sincere thanks to MoES (Ministry of Earth Sciences) for providing financial support through the COMAPS (Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System) programme. Authors are thankful to the Director of CSIR-NIO (CSIR-National Institute of Oceanography) for extending the facilities. TV is grateful to CSIR for awarding a Senior Research Fellowship that gave her the opportunity to carry out the present study. This is CSIR-NIO contribution no. 6445.
MoES (Ministry of Earth Sciences) provided funding for the research through the COMAPS (Coastal Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System) programme. CSIR (Council for Scientific and Industrial Research) awarded Senior Research Fellowship to Tejal Vijapure that gave her the opportunity to conduct the present research work.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Human and animal rights
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities.
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