Barcode Long Island
2023-24 Program

It’s our pleasure to announce the official opening of Barcode Long Island 2023-24! We look forward to your participation this year.


  • PARTICIPATION OPTIONS: As the program is no longer NIH funded, 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/Azenta tracking number) to BLI staff. These teams must also participate in one of the campaign projects.
    3. Enrollment in the DNALC’s Associate Partner 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 13, 2023.
  • 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 DNALC NYC in Brooklyn will be hosted by DNALC staff; Brookhaven National Lab (BNL) staff will also host onsite Open Labs this year. A list of onsite wet lab Open Lab dates are available.
  • 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.


  • Azenta Life Sciences has acquired GENEWIZ Group, the facility we use for DNA sequencing. Please be advised that “GENEWIZ” and “Azenta” may be used interchangeably in our communications and protocols. If you plan to submit samples for sequencing independent of the DNALC, please be advised that you will need to update any GENEWIZ PO on file to a new Azenta PO within your account. 

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

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 in 2020. 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 may be able to provide mosquito samples to teams from local health departments. 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 decreases dramatically 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), those that cannot be easily identified using taxonomic keys, or highly diverse organisms with limited published barcode data or range information. 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 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 Wednesday, December 13, 2023. There will be no exceptions.

  • Deadline 1: Wednesday, September 27, 2023
  • Deadline 2: Wednesday, October 18, 2023
  • Deadline 3: Wednesday, November 15, 2023
  • FINAL DEADLINE: Wednesday, December 13, 2023

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.


Mark your calendars! The BLI Student Symposium is Tuesday, June 4th, 2024 at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

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!