Barcode Long Island
2020-21 Program

It’s our pleasure to announce the official opening of Barcode Long Island 2020-21! We look forward to your participation this year.

We are extremely grateful to have been fully funded by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS), a branch of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), since the inception of Barcode Long Island. As many of you know, the funding for BLI is concluding, but new funding from NIGMS will allow us to pursue a national citizen science DNA barcoding venture! As this new program evolves, we will be happy to update you on the progress and will certainly welcome your participation.

Concurrently, our intention is to continue to support BLI projects in a modified capacity. The revised program structure will allow us to continue to expand the program while providing more independence to teams. We also hope that new developments will assist teams with students who are partially or entirely virtual at this time.

BLI 2020-21 PROGRAM STRUCTURE

  • PROPOSALS: All teams that are a part of BLI for the 2020-21 program year will participate in a campaign and submit a campaign proposal form. Full proposals provide an excellent exercise in scientific writing for students and we certainly encourage students to continue with these as a part of their classwork; however, only campaign proposals will be reviewed by BLI staff.
  • REAGENT AND EQUIPMENT SUPPORT: Teams will be able to request reagent or reagent and equipment footlockers as in previous years. Open Labs will be hosted virtually by BLI or Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) staff. Therefore, teams opting to attend an Open Lab will need to ensure they have their footlocker ahead of the Open Labs. A list of virtual Open Lab dates will be posted shortly.
  • PARTICIPANT SUPPORT: We have funding to support wet lab processing of samples through December 2020. Therefore, we strongly encourage teams to complete the wet lab portion of their projects, including DNA sequencing, by this time. Our newest DNA isolation protocol is designed to allow DNA isolation from home with minimal reagents and equipment, and is quite rapid, which should help expedite this process. (See below for additional details).
  • PROJECT COMPLETION: Teams will be required to submit a summary report 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.
  • SYMPOSIUM: We are cautiously optimistic about hosting the symposium in-person this year; however, we will continue to monitor the situation and will plan accordingly. We will be in touch about a potential symposium date shortly.

Updates

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

  • Our new Chelex DNA Isolation procedure is available in the Laboratory section of this site, and is designed for easy in-class or at home sample processing with minimal equipment needed. We encourage mentors and students to utilize this procedure for sample processing this year. Mentors will be responsible for distributing the materials to participating students. 
  • The DNALC Live! portion of our DNALC website, developed in response to the pandemic, has numerous videos to assist with educational instruction. These include a 3-part series about DNA barcoding and a 3-part bioinformatics series about DNA Subway's Blue Line. We encourage mentors and students to review these materials for project assistance. A Chelex DNA isolation tutorial will be posted to our website shortly.
  • All other protocols and guides can be found under Resources.

Long Island Biodiversity Projects

Campaigns

This year, students must join one of the campaign options listed below. 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 also streamlines the proposal process for teams.

This year’s campaigns include:

  • Ants
  • Mosquitoes
  • Beetles
  • Aquatic (freshwater) invertebrates (ex: insect larvae)
  • Bioinformatics only
  • Other*__________

We strongly encourage teams to participate in either the ant or mosquito campaigns.

  • ANTS: We developed a number of ant-related resources to assist teams with collection, documentation, and processing of ant samples through our new US Ants citizen science program, implemented this past summer. Students participating in this campaign will join a national effort to document these underrepresented organisms in GenBank.
  • MOSQUITOES: Teams participating in a mosquito campaign are welcome to collect their own samples; the DNALC has three BG Sentinel-2 mosquito traps available for rent, or students can research and design their own. However, we also have mosquito samples available to provide to teams from both local and out-of-state health departments, as we look to expand our knowledge of these organisms beyond Long Island’s borders. This could be a great option for teams who are unable to collect samples this year due to current restrictions, or are worried about collecting a diverse set of samples late in the season.
  • BIOINFORMATICS ONLY: Teams are allowed to propose a bioinformatics only project this year due to current circumstances. Teams selecting this option can do an in-depth analysis of samples collected from multi-year projects to get a broad picture of potential changes in biodiversity of a particular location; can collect data from organisms found in the Sample Database to get a longitudinal view of the biodiversity of groups of organisms across LI; or propose a similarly relevant bioinformatics project.
  • *Teams who select the OTHER option will need to complete all wet lab processing by the end of December 2020; otherwise, teams will be responsible for covering the cost of their sample materials and DNA sequencing ($10 per sample). We encourage ALL teams to complete wet lab processing by this time as well, so that we can best utilize available funds to support teams.

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 must still include an abstract and a hypothesis.

Exclusions

As in previous years (should teams choose an “other” campaign project), 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 a summer training workshop.

Student proposals are reviewed on a rolling basis, but as in previous years we are providing multiple submission dates to help organize teams. The proposal review usually takes 1-2 weeks, though we hope the campaign forms will expedite this process. The FINAL deadline for initial submission will be Tuesday, December 8, 2020. There will be no exceptions.

  • Deadline 1: Tuesday, October 20, 2020
  • Deadline 2: Tuesday, November 17, 2020
  • FINAL DEADLINE: Tuesday, December 8, 2020

BLI guidelines for participation 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 (as needed), and meets your writing standards before submission.

Symposium

Options for BLI Symposium dates are being determined. Stay tuned!

Additional Important Information

  • Please fill out the Google Form to let us know your preferred virtual Open Lab days. Mentors indicated in our “Future of BLI” survey that they would like Open Lab availability during the school day, however, we understand that this may have changed due to current circumstances. We will build our virtual Open Lab schedule around the responses.
  • 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. Please take into consideration restrictions implemented by different locations this year, and how this may affect your collections. We encourage you to reach out and contact potential collection locations as soon as possible for any changes is their policies.

We look forward to another exciting year of DNA barcoding!