Meganck, K., Smitz, N., Gombeer, S., Van Bourgonie, YR., Backeljau, T. & De Meyer, M. 2018. ‘Identifying Invasive Alien Species by DNA-barcoding: possibilities, gaps and pitfalls’. Zoology 2018: Zoology in the Anthropocene. Book of abstracts. 114.
Invasive alien species (IAS) have a negative impact on their newly occupied, non-native environments after accidental or deliberate introduction. In order to protect native biodiversity and ecosystems, and mitigate the potential impact on human health and socio-economic activities, the European Commission issued Regulation 1143/2014, detailing 37 IAS impacting EU member states. Since last year’s Benelux Congress of Zoology, during which the usefulness of molecular data to identify these species was presented, the number of IAS under EU considerations was expanded to 49 in Regulation 2017/1263. The reliability with which these IAS can be identified, using the online available sequence data, is now described in concise factsheets, one for each species on the Regulation list. These factsheets are publically available on BopCo’s webpage (http://bopco.myspecies.info/). The factsheets are divided in two main parts; the first includes an overview of the taxonomic classification and species distribution to inform the second part. In the latter, the DNA reference databases are critically evaluated, specifying the issues encountered and potential actions to improve the usefulness, as well as a conclusion on how well the data covers the identification needs. Additionally, advice is given on which molecular marker(s) to use when identifying a potential IAS sample. An often encountered issue is the lack of sequence data in the online reference databases, especially for closely related species. Examples will be presented, demonstrating the different issues by identifying the gaps in the online reference databases and suggesting potential actions to increase the reliability of invasive alien species identifications.