Barcode Long Island
2019-20 Program

It’s our pleasure to announce the official opening of Barcode Long Island 2019-20! We look forward to your participation this year.


We are excited to announce a number of updates for the upcoming program year!

  • We have introduced a contract for students to sign for participation in BLI. Please include these signed contracts for all team members with their proposals.
  • Teams will be required to submit a summary proposal AND produce a poster at the completion of their projects, despite their availability to participate in the symposium. Teams who fulfill these requirements will be eligible to receive the BLI certificate of completion.


We are excited to announce a number of updates for the upcoming program year!

  • We are offering after-school wet lab Open Lab dates in addition to our standard Saturday Open Labs. These weekday Open Labs will run from 3:00 pm – 8:30 pm. Mentors can register teams under their mentor accounts as they would for a standard Saturday Open Lab.
  • New field guides are available for rent through the DNALC. These guides, in addition to other online resources, can be found in the Taxonomic Resources document on the DNA barcoding 101 website. Please contact BLI staff if you are interested in renting any of the guides to assist students with taxonomic identification required for Sample Database data entry.
  • A campaign resources section is now available to assist teams with development and data analysis of their campaign projects. We will continue to update this section as additional resources become available.
  • A DNA barcoding FAQ section has been developed and will be added to the website shortly. This will provide teams with answers to commonly asked questions and assistance with common project struggles. We hope that this will allow students and mentors to be more independent with their projects. We encourage mentors to utilize this guide and other available resources for general assistance before reaching out to BLI staff.
  • All other protocols and guides can be found under Resources.

Coming soon

There will be a one-day mentor update and refresher meeting on Election Day - Tuesday, November 5 from 9:30 am – 1:00 pm covering program updates (rapid DNA isolation techniques, Sample and Specimen Database updates, taxonomy, microscopy, etc.). An optional DNA Subway full refresher will follow from 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm. Additionally, Dr. Peter Bickerton, the Scientific Communications & Outreach Manager from the Earlham Institute in the UK and participant in the “Darwin Tree of Life” project will be in attendance, and will present a short talk on his research and outreach activities. All current mentors are invited to attend. Please email if you are interested. Mentors who attended the meeting last year: the morning content will be the same, but please let us know if you have interest in the afternoon DNA Subway refresher.

Long Island Biodiversity Projects


In addition to standard full proposals, students can join one of five campaigns. Multiple student teams will collect similar organisms at different locations so the pooled results reveal the diversity and distribution of these taxa across Long Island. Participation in a campaign will also streamline the proposal process for teams.

This year’s campaigns include:

  • Beetles
  • Ants
  • Mosquitoes*
  • Water mites
  • Aquatic (freshwater) invertebrates (ex: insect larvae)

*Teams who plan to work on a mosquito campaign need to submit proposals early in the season to ensure that mosquitos can still be collected. The DNALC has three BG Sentinel-2 mosquito traps available for rent, or students can research and design their own. Please contact us ASAP if your team is interested in borrowing a trap.

A streamlined campaign proposal form is available under the BLI section of the Resources tab. Completed proposal forms will be uploaded by the mentor on the proposal database for each team participating in a campaign, in place of a full proposal. Campaign forms must contain all requested information, and will be reviewed by BLI staff for content, accuracy, and clarity. Campaign projects still need to include a hypothesis and human well-being component.

Full Proposals

For teams submitting a full proposal, we strongly encourage collection of small organisms (smaller than 10 mm) and require collection of organisms that cannot be easily identified using taxonomic keys. This eliminates the majority of terrestrial plants and larger invertebrates, with the exception of insects that are difficult to identify. This recommendation is aimed at increasing the likelihood that students will find informative sequences, adding to the scientific knowledge of biodiversity on Long Island. Examples include: small round or flat worms (not earth worms), small arthropods, fungi, lichens, moss, etc., all of which are poorly characterized, often very diverse, and difficult to identify. Teams or schools with established collection sites are encouraged to continue collection at these sites if they aim to collect a time series of biodiversity at these locations.

As in previous years, student research should be framed in terms of human well-being. This could be accomplished by proposing to study organisms that can affect human health (like vectors of disease); pests, like chiggers or biting ants; sources of allergens (fungi, for instance—but not easily identified plants); or organisms associated with unclean water. Alternatively, the projects could focus on climate change, pollution, or other human activity that might degrade the environment (such as increases in nitrogen levels, disturbance of ecosystems, urban/suburban development, etc.), through identification or tracking of indicator species. These projects will require extensive literature searches by the students when developing ideas, which will need to be reflected in their project proposals. We encourage the incorporation of “metadata” collection (such as pH, ground/water temperature, contaminant levels, etc., if possible) into proposals as many teams have done in previous years.


Please avoid projects focused on the collection of clams, crabs, oysters, snails, Phragmites, and most terrestrial plants due to their limited diversity, exhaustive previous documentation, and/or ease of taxonomic identification. Students who choose a terrestrial plant project will need to indicate why none of the above conditions are met for their proposed samples. Examples of acceptable terrestrial plant proposals: a team works with a conservation group at a park to barcode plants that are difficult to identify for trained professionals; or, a team finds resources which indicate a particular group of plants are highly diverse yet not well studied across Long Island.

Proposal Submission and Deadlines

To create a team and submit a proposal, mentors will need to log in to the Teacher/Mentor Portal. New mentors will need to register to create a user name and password for the portal. Please register with the same email you used to sign up for the summer training workshop.
Student proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis, but as in previous years we are providing four submission dates to help organize teams. The proposal review usually takes 1-2 weeks, but can take longer in November-December. The FINAL deadline for initial submission will be Tuesday, December 10, 2019. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS.

  • Deadline 1: Tuesday, September 24, 2019
  • Deadline 2: Tuesday, October 22, 2019
  • Deadline 3: Tuesday, November 12, 2019
  • FINAL DEADLINE: Tuesday, December 10, 2019

BLI guidelines for participation, as well as a rubric for evaluation of “full” proposals can be found under the BLI section of Resources. Please review your students' proposals to ensure their proposed research meets our guidelines, includes appropriate references to the literature, and meets your writing standards before submission. Please review campaign proposal forms for accuracy and clarity as well.


Options for BLI Symposium dates for this program year are Wednesday, June 3, 2020 or Thursday, June 4, 2020. Please contact us if you and your students have a date preference, and why. We will choose a date based on the largest number of available attendees. Please consult school calendars for sporting events, proms, examinations, etc., when determining availability.

Additional Important Information

  • Teams are required to have written permission to sample—please include these permissions when you submit your teams’ proposals. We recommend that teams have these permissions on-hand when students are sampling in case they are approached by individuals who work at these sites or law-enforcement officials. Please refer to the BLI Guidelines for additional information and restrictions.
  • The Open Lab registration dates have been posted, broken down by “wet lab” and “bioinformatics” Open Labs, and can be accessed under Laboratory Support. Our Saturday Open Labs are 9:30 am – 4:00 pm at the Dolan DNALC, DNALC West, and Brookhaven National Laboratory; weekday Open Labs are from 3:00 pm – 8:30 pm at the DNALC. Mentors must be logged in to their accounts and have approved proposals before registering for an Open Lab or and have sample entries on the Sample Database before requesting a footlocker. Open Lab space and footlockers are available on a first come, first served basis. Registration closes five days in advance of the Open Lab. Footlockers must be requested at least two weeks in advance of desired pick-up date and are loaned for a period of ten school days.
  • There must be a minimum of 10 students registered for an Open Lab, otherwise the Open Lab will be cancelled and the mentor will be contacted to reschedule.