DNA Barcodes pp 423-439 | Cite as

FISH-BOL, A Case Study for DNA Barcodes

  • Robert D. WardEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 858)


The FISH-BOL campaign was initiated in 2005, and currently has barcoded for the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene about 8,000 of the 31,000 fish species currently recognised. This includes the great majority of the world’s most important commercial species. Results thus far show that about 98% and 93% of marine and freshwater species, respectively, are barcode distinguishable. One important issue that needs to be more fully addressed in FISH-BOL concerns the initial misidentification of a small number of barcode reference specimens. This is unsurprising considering the large number of fish species, some of which are morphologically very similar and others as yet unrecognised, but constant vigilance and ongoing attention by the FISH-BOL community is required to eliminate such errors. Once the reference library has been established, barcoding enables the identification of unknown fishes at any life history stage or from their fragmentary remains. The many uses of the FISH-BOL barcode library include detecting consumer fraud, aiding fisheries management, improving ecological analyses including food web syntheses, and assisting with taxonomic revisions.

Key words

COI Cytochrome oxidase Species identification Fish Elasmobranchii Actinopterygii DNA barcode 



I thank William White and Peter Last (CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research) for discussions on aspects of this paper, and Bronwyn Holmes and Dan Gledhill (also of CSIRO) for comments on an early draft. I also thank Paul Hebert (co-chair of FISH-BOL) and Bob Hanner (campaign coordinator of FISH-BOL) for their great work in helping to make FISH-BOL a success, and the many FISH-BOL participants who have collected, identified and barcoded many thousands of specimens. A special thanks goes to the team at the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding for barcoding the majority of fish specimens sequenced to date.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Wealth from Oceans Flagship, CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric ResearchTasmaniaAustralia

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