MiniGrant List: 2008-2009

Museum archive

Enophrys lucasi

Title: Western Arctic Marine Fish Museum Voucher Database / Arctic Marine Fish Distribution and Taxonomy


Principal Investigators
Catherine and Anthony Mecklenburg
Pt. Stephens Research, Auke Bay, USA

Project goals
Phase II: Expand the Arctic Marine Fish Museum Voucher Database to include data gathered in 2007 and January-June 2008 on historical collections in museums and fresh collections from recent research cruises, complete a publication on new and rare records of Pacific-Arctic fishes from data gathered through 2007, preserve and document voucher specimens collected by recent research cruises to the northern Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea, and prepare image and specimen data spreadsheets required by FISH-BOL for documentation of tissue samples.

Phase II: We collected ~600 tissue samples for DNA barcoding from the Gulf of Alaska, the northern Bering Sea, the Chukchi Sea, the Beaufort Sea and the western Aleutian Islands, representing 93 species. Samples and documentation were submitted to and analyzed at the Guelph barcoding facility and related spreadsheets were submitted to the Barcode of Life database (BOLD). The barcoding results helped us resolve problematic taxonomy and identify species with greater accuracy. The results support the distinction between some species whose distinctiveness has been questioned and show others which have been reported to differ to be the same. The method has also linked juvenile stages with the adults of the species.

Over 500 lots, each comprising 1 to 35 individuals of a single species from a single tow, were preserved from surface, midwater, and bottom trawling in 2007 and 2008. Specimens and photographs will be archived at the California Academy of Sciences and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Museum of the North and significantly improve the Arctic collections of these museums. They provide critical documentation of species’ geographic ranges and valuable specimens for research on taxonomy and distribution for current and future researchers.

Additions from the recent Pacific-Arctic cruises and the historical collections in museums have expanded the museum vouchers database to >9,000 records.  Six museums in the US, Japan and Canada were visited during this project to conduct taxonomic research and evaluate records for the database. As a result, the data coverage has expanded to include the Canadian Arctic eastward beyond the Boothia Peninsula with the addition of about 3,500 records from the Canadian Museum of Nature. Previously unreported northern Bering Sea and Chukchi Sea collections at University of Alaska Museum of the North were also included. More than 20 species accounts were created and included on the ArcOD web and the updated information on historical ranges from our efforts under this minigrant is reflected in the species distribution maps.

Results from this project were included in a synthesis paper on Arctic fishes that is part of the ArcOD special issue in “Marine Biodiversity”.

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