Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the UK

Short Communication

PCR from the CPR offers a historical perspective on marine population ecology

R.R.  Kirby a1 and P.C.  Reid a2
a1 Plymouth Marine Laboratory, Citadel Hill, The Hoe, Plymouth, PL1 2PB, UK, E-mail:
a2 The Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science, 1 Walker Terrace, The Hoe, Plymouth, PL1 3BN, UK


The Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey has collected plankton samples from regular tracks across the world's oceans for almost 70 y. Over 299,000 spatially extensive CPR samples are archived and stored in buffered formalin. This CPR archive offers huge potential to study changes in marine communities using molecular data from a period when marine pollution, exploitation and global anthropogenic impact were much less pronounced. However, to harness the amount of data available within the CPR archive fully, it is necessary to improve techniques of larval identification, to genus and species preferably, and to obtain genetic information for historical studies of population ecology. To increase the potential of the CPR database this paper describes the first extraction, amplification by the polymerase chain reaction and utilization of a DNA sequence (mitochondrial 16S rDNA) from a CPR sample, a formalin fixed larval sandeel.

(Received December 18 2000)
(Accepted April 11 2001)