DNA barcoding of ecologically and economically important fish families in Vietnam

DECODIV PROJECT

The biodiversity is an essential element of development for tropical countries. In Vietnam, fisheries resources provide both a primary source of animal protein and foreign currency but aquatic biodiversity is dramatically threatened by pollution, habitat destruction (dam building and expanding coastal urbanisation), use of unsustainable fishing methods, and introduction of exotic species for aquaculture.

These problems are reinforced by limited knowledge of fish diversity in Vietnam, which harbours one of the most diversifed fish fauna in the world, due to its proximity to the marine biodiversity hotspot (Coral Triangle) and the presence in the Mekong River of high levels of endemism. In order to improve the knowledge base of Vietnamese ichthyofauna, the DECODIV project will sample the diversity of 9 fish families (4 marine & 5 freshwater), comprising the main species fish landings, in 5 northern and central lagoons and in the lower Mekong and Dong Nai tributaries. Species will be identified by morpho-anatomical characters and DNA barcoding. DECODIV will provide an updated species checklist for Vietnam, formal description of new species (revealed by DNA barcoding), new voucher specimens for national collections in Vietnam and reference DNA barcodes for international databases (Genbank and Bold).