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User guide

Background

Species are the basic units of measurement of biodiversity and therefore their accurate identification is critical in all studies of living systems. Identification of species is important not only for documenting biodiversity but also for the management of resources, conservation of biodiversity, protection of critical habitats and response to climate change.

In 2010, the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI)  initiated a project to inventory and genetically characterise commercial marine organisms in the waters of the Republic of Mauritius. Identification of organisms is carried out by combining both traditional taxonomic identification tools and DNA-based techniques namely DNA barcoding, which employs patterns of sequence variation from the mitochondrial 5' region of the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) gene.

The morphometric and genetic data generated are stored on this custom-designed online searchable database, the Marine Diversity and Genetic Data Bank (MDGDB), which is continuously updated with new data as they become available. Here users are presented with both a DNA-based search approach and a query-based function. For the DNA-based technique, users can search the DNA data bank through the BLAST algorithm. In the query-based function, search can be performed using either the nomenclature or the common name (Local, English and French) of the organisms.
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