Barcode Long Island
2021-22 Program

It’s our pleasure to announce the official opening of Barcode Long Island 2021-22! We look forward to your participation this year.

We are extremely grateful to have been 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(BLI). As many of you know, the funding for BLI has concluded; however, we plan to continue to support as many BLI projects as possible. Please see additional information below.


  • PARTICIPATION OPTIONS: Schools may participate in all aspects of the program (proposal review, Open Lab assistance, equipment loan, symposium, etc.) through one of the four following options:
    1. Schools will be charged for the cost of materials and sequencing. This $250 fee per team (2-4 students) will include materials to process and sequence up to 20 samples.
    2. Schools with reagents and the means to support sequencing independent of the DNA Learning Center (DNALC) may participate; however, teams are subject to standard BLI guidelines and must continue to use the Barcode Sample Database to log sample pictures and metadata, as well as provide sequencing data (preferably via GENEWIZ tracking number) to BLI staff. These teams must also participate in one of the campaign projects.
    3. Enrollment in the DNALC’s Research Membership or Partner Membership programs includes participation in BLI. Find additional information on our membership benefits.
    4. Schools are eligible to participate in BLI via scholarship if certain criteria are met. Eligibility information is available within the scholarship application. Applications are due no later than Friday, October 15, 2021.
  • REAGENT AND EQUIPMENT SUPPORT: Teams will be able to request reagent or reagent and equipment footlockers as in previous years. Onsite Open Labs at the Dolan DNALC and our new DNALC NYC facility in Brooklyn will be hosted by DNALC staff; virtual Open Labs will be hosted by Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) staff. Teams opting to attend a virtual Open Lab will need to ensure they receive a footlocker ahead of time. A list of Open Lab dates will be posted shortly.
  • PROJECT COMPLETION: Teams are 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 an in-person symposium 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.

Coming soon

There will be a one-day BLI wet lab training on Election Day–Tuesday, November 2, 2021 from 9:30 am – 3:30 pm. Teachers interested in becoming mentors for BLI as well as trained mentors interested in a program refresher are encouraged to attend. Collection recommendations, sample documentation, Chelex DNA isolation techniques, PCR, gel electrophoresis, and program implementation will be covered. A virtual DNA Subway training will be scheduled for a later date. Please email if you are interested in attending (a registration page will be posted to the website shortly).

Long Island Biodiversity Projects


This year’s campaign options are listed below. Through campaigns, multiple student teams collect species from select groups of 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)
  • Lichens (New!)

For participants in an 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 Barcoding US Ants citizen science program, implemented last year. 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 two 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 worried about collecting a diverse set of samples late in the season.
  • Note that ant and mosquito diversity substantially decreases in the cooler months. Beetle or lichen projects are recommended for teams that would like to collect samples themselves but are concerned about seasonal decreases in species richness.

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 as well as a hypothesis and/or specific plan for collecting diverse or difficult to obtain specimens.

Full Proposals

Teams submitting a full proposal are encouraged to collect small organisms (smaller than 10 mm) and those that cannot be easily identified using taxonomic keys. 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: small round or flat worms (not earth worms), small arthropods, fungi, 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.

Full proposals should include an extensive literature search to aid with the development of project ideas, as 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 the same species (DNA barcoding is used for species identification) as well as clams, crabs, oysters, snails, and Phragmites, due to their limited diversity, exhaustive previous documentation, and/or ease of taxonomic identification. Students who choose a terrestrial plant project will also need to specify 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 that indicate a particular group of plants (ex: ferns) are highly diverse yet not well studied across Long Island. If students feel they have a good reason to barcode a group of organisms listed in the exceptions, please contact us.

Proposal Submission and Deadlines

To create a team and submit a proposal, mentors will need to log in to the DNA Barcoding Project 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 campaign project review may be expedited. The FINAL deadline for initial submission will be Tuesday, December 14, 2021. There will be no exceptions.

  • Deadline 1: Tuesday, October 19, 2021
  • Deadline 2: Tuesday, November 16, 2021
  • FINAL DEADLINE: Tuesday, December 14, 2021

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.


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

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. 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.
  • Silica, Rapid, and Chelex DNA isolation methods are available to teams. Certain methods are optimized for specific sample types, use more or less equipment, or fit better within a limited class period. Please contact us if you would like a recommendation on the method that may work best for your needs.

We look forward to another exciting year of DNA barcoding!