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Exhaustive reanalysis of barcode sequences from public repositories highlights ongoing misidentifications and impacts taxa diversity and distribution: a case study of the Sea Lettuce.
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  • Antoine Fort,
  • Marcus McHale,
  • Kevin Cascella,
  • Philippe Potin,
  • Marie-Mathilde Perrineau,
  • Philip Kerrison,
  • Elisabete da Costa,
  • Ricardo Calado,
  • Maria Domingues,
  • Isabel Costa Azevedo,
  • Isabel Sousa-Pinto,
  • Claire Gachon,
  • Adrie van der Werf,
  • Willem de Visser,
  • Johanna Beniers,
  • Henrice Jansen,
  • Michael Guiry,
  • Ronan Sulpice
Antoine Fort
NUI Galway
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Marcus McHale
NUI Galway
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Kevin Cascella
Station Biologique de Roscoff
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Philippe Potin
Station Biologique de Roscoff
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Marie-Mathilde Perrineau
Scottish Association for Marine Science
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Philip Kerrison
Scottish Association for Marine Science
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Elisabete da Costa
University of Aveiro
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Ricardo Calado
University of Aveiro
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Maria Domingues
Universidade de Aveiro
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Isabel Costa Azevedo
University of Porto Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research
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Isabel Sousa-Pinto
University of Porto Interdisciplinary Centre of Marine and Environmental Research
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Claire Gachon
Scottish Association for Marine Science
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Adrie van der Werf
Wageningen University & Research
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Willem de Visser
Wageningen University & Research
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Johanna Beniers
Wageningen University & Research
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Henrice Jansen
Wageningen University & Research
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Michael Guiry
NUI Galway
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Ronan Sulpice
NUI Galway
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Abstract

Sea Lettuce (Ulva spp.; Ulvophyceae, Ulvales, Ulvaceae) is an important ecological and economical entity, with a worldwide distribution and is a well-known source of near-shore blooms blighting many coastlines. Species of Ulva are frequently misidentified in public repositories, including herbaria and gene banks, making species identification based on traditional barcoding hazardous. We investigated the species distribution of 295 individual distromatic foliose strains from the North East Atlantic by traditional barcoding or next generation sequencing. We found seven distinct species, and compared our results with all worldwide Ulva spp sequences present in the NCBI database for the three barcodes rbcL, tufA and the ITS1. Our results demonstrate a large degree of species misidentification in the NCBI database. We estimate that 21% of the entries pertaining to foliose species are misannotated. In the extreme case of U. lactuca, 65% of the entries are erroneously labelled specimens of another Ulva species, typically U. fenestrata. In addition, 30% of U. rigida entries are misannotated, U. rigida being relatively rare and often misannotated U. laetevirens. Furthermore, U. armoricana and U. scandinavica present as being synonymous to U. laetevirens. An analysis of the global distribution of registered samples from foliose species also indicates possible geographical isolation for some species, and the absence of U. lactuca from Northern Europe. Altogether, exhaustive taxonomic clarification by aggregation of a library of barcode sequences highlights misannotations, and delivers an improved representation of Ulva species diversity and distribution. This approach could be easily adapted to other taxa.

Peer review status:ACCEPTED

10 Nov 2020Submitted to Molecular Ecology Resources
24 Nov 2020Submission Checks Completed
24 Nov 2020Assigned to Editor
17 Dec 2020Reviewer(s) Assigned
28 Apr 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
06 May 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
28 May 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
28 May 20211st Revision Received
08 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Revise Minor
08 Jun 2021Review(s) Completed, Editorial Evaluation Pending
08 Jun 20212nd Revision Received
17 Jun 2021Editorial Decision: Accept