DNA Barcodes pp 379-393 | Cite as

Plant DNA Barcodes, Taxonomic Management, and Species Discovery in Tropical Forests

  • Christopher W. DickEmail author
  • Campbell O. Webb
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 858)


DNA barcodes have great potential for species identification and taxonomic discovery in tropical forests. This use of DNA barcodes requires a reference DNA library of known taxa with which to match DNA from unidentified specimens. At an even more basic level, it presupposes that the species in the regional species pool have Latin binomials. This is not the case in species-rich tropical forests in which many species are new to science or members of poorly circumscribed species complexes. This chapter describes a workflow geared toward taxonomic discovery, which includes the discovery of new species, distribution records, and hybrid forms, and to management of taxonomic entities in forest inventory plots. It outlines the roles of laboratory technicians, field workers and herbarium-based taxonomists, and concludes with a discussion of potential multilocus nuclear DNA approaches for identifying species in recently evolved clades.

Key words

Tropical trees Metadata Vouchers Taxonomy Herbarium DNA barcode Discovery 



Some of the methods were derived from research supported by the National Science Foundation (DEB awards 0640379 to CD, and 1020868 to CW) and the Center for Tropical Forest Sciences. We thank John Kress and David Erickson for the invitation and for useful ideas for the paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and HerbariumUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Arnold Arboretum of Harvard UniversityCambridgeUSA

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