VINIF.2022.DA00021 – DNA metabarcoding and integrated information database – Implication for Ichthyoplankton survey and fisheries management in Vietnam

project manager image
Principle Investigator
Assoc.Prof. Dang Thuy Binh
Host Organization
Nha Trang University

Urgency and novelty:

The project lays the foundation for combining traditional methods and advanced genetic tools, contributing to global databases such as Genbank and BOLD in surveying biodiversity and update the list of marine fish species in Vietnam. Information on genetics and biodiversity, modern bioinformatics methods, WebGIS data and distribution of marine fish in general and ichthyoplankton in particular are integrated in a database that can be easily accessible, retrievable, and ready for transfer to government fisheries management agencies. The project also paves the way for solving life history, genetics and marine ecology issues in Vietnam and Southeast Asia, which have diverse marine ecosystems but are facing the risk of depleting this valuable resource. Metabarcoding, big data, along with WebGIS have potential to be effective tools, contributing to the digitization and storage of data over time and space, as a foundation for sustainable aquatic resource management in Vietnam and connected to big data globally. This research builds strong domestic and international partnerships by creating a marine biodiversity network of young, capable scientists and managers who will be innovative leaders in the future. In addition, the project works closely with stakeholders, conservation agencies and NGOs, providing information and scientific evidence for sustainable development policies and aquatic resource management, as well as educating the public about the importance of ecosystem health.

Project objectives:

The project aims to examine the species composition, density and temporal and spatial distribution of ichthyoplankton along the coast of Vietnam. At the same time, research to build a reference library of DNA barcodes and develop advanced genetic barcodes (DNA metabarcoding) of marine fish as a useful tool and solution to survey ichthyoplankton biodiversity and biomes as a basis for determining breeding areas and managing aquatic resources.

Project tasks:

  • Survey the temporal and spatial distribution, anatomical morphology analysis, and specimen preservation of ichthyoplankton, and eDNA collected in Vietnam;
  • Building a library of genetic barcodes and reference data for the ichthyoplankton monitoring program;
  • Develop advanced genetic barcoding (DNA metabarcoding) to investigate ichthyoplankton community structure, and develop this method as a useful tool and registration solution for aquatic resource management;
  • Update species checklist for Vietnam, describe and name new species/cryptic species (if any);
  • Develop Vietnam’s integrated information database on marine fish diversity, life history, distribution and DNA barcoding;
  • Create and strengthen the national and international marine fish barcode network.

Project impact:

The project builds a research network on marine biodiversity including young, capable Vietnamese scientists, connecting with researchers in the United States. The project applies advanced genetic techniques and big data, and works closely with stakeholders, conservation agencies and NGOs, providing open scientific information and evidence way for proposing solutions to establish and supplement resource protection zones and policies aimed at sustainable development and management of aquatic resources.

Project video link:

project manager image
Principle Investigator
Assoc.Prof. Dang Thuy Binh
Host Organization
Nha Trang University


Expect Progress
Phase 1

– Specimens of TCCC and environmental water samples (eDNA) were collected in Vietnam and preserved under appropriate conditions for morphological, density, and genetic analyses;
– Survey data were used for the construction of a spawning area map and database;
– One map of marine fish spawning areas, proposing solutions for sustainable resource management;
– One report presented at a national workshop;
– Support for one PhD student and two master’s students in conducting research related to the project’s content.

Phase 2

– Support for one PhD student and 3-4 master’s students in conducting research related to the project’s content;
– A collection of adult fish specimens was gathered and preserved under appropriate conditions for morphological and genetic analyses;
– One training workshop at Nha Trang University;
– One DNA barcode analysis procedure and a DNA barcode database of marine fish (morphology, ecology, genetics) uploaded to a virtual server;
– One Q1 journal article accepted for publication;
– One Q1 journal article submitted for publication.

Phase 3

– One useful solution for the DNA metabarcoding analysis procedure has been granted a certificate or has received a notice of acceptance and/or evidence of the request for content appraisal;
– An updated list of marine fish species, with new species (if any) described based on morphological and genetic characteristics (according to the latest classification system);
– The Vietnamese and English versions of the book “Field Guide to Surveying Fish Eggs and Larvae in Vietnam” published online;
– One WebGIS database on the biodiversity of fish, fish eggs, and larvae, along with a preliminary report on access information and stakeholder feedback;
– One report presented at an A-rank workshop;
– Two Q1 journal articles accepted for publication.