In collaboration with the New York Hall of Science, the DNA Learning Center (DNALC) invites members of the public to participate in Citizen DNA Barcode Network. With funding from the National Institute of General Medical Science, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, the program organizes national campaigns to map the ranges of species within three groups of insects: ants, mosquitoes, and beetles. These groups include bioindicators of environmental change, vectors of human disease, and economically important species whose ranges are being altered by global climate change. Citizen scientists use the technique of DNA barcoding, which allows non-experts to identify almost any insect species, to explore the biodiversity of these groups of insects in their communities.
This program adapts the DNALC’s well established DNA barcoding methods for use in informal settings. Our goal is to equip visitors to science and nature centers and members of community conservation groups to inventory species in local habitats. These citizen scientists will contribute to global biodiversity databases, improve range maps, and help track species’ movements. Data collected by citizen scientists will contribute to the scientific record in multiple ways:
The program is open to any science or nature enthusiast! Program collaborators across Long Island host events throughout the year to engage members of the public of varying age and skill level, including day and evening insect collections, partial or full day hands-on lab activities, summer camps, and more. Visit our events page to see a list of upcoming activities. We are also planning to expand nationally as new organizations join our network.
We are expanding nationally as new organizations join our network! Starting this year, we are excited to have the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) as a new Hub. CAS will be hosting events and supporting Citizen Scientists in San Francisco and the surrounding area. We also support other national citizen scientists who want to join our efforts. Contact us to learn how you can become involved.
We offer training for informal science/nature center and conservation organization staff who are interested in collaborating with the DNALC to host Citizen DNA Barcode Network events. Visit the DNA Learning Center Educator Training page to see upcoming training events. Please contact us for additional information or to inquire about training opportunities for out-of-state facilities.