Citizen DNA Barcode Network: A Community-based Infrastructure for Monitoring Biodiversity and Disease Vectors

  • Abstract

    In collaboration with the New York Hall of Science (NYSCI), the DNA Learning Center (DNALC) of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) proposes to develop a **Citizen DNA Barcode Network**. The project will organize 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 will use the technique of DNA barcoding, which allows non-experts to identify almost any insect species, even from larval forms or damaged samples. The project is based on an integrated biochemical and bioinformatics workflow we have developed to support DNA barcoding in formal education settings. Our current SEPA project, *Barcode Long Island,* has undertaken DNA barcoding campaigns in the formal education system—with high school students documenting local biodiversity and the northward range expansion of several insects—novel evidence of global warming. Data collected by citizen scientists will contribute to the scientific record in two ways: 1) Barcode sequences will be published in GenBank, the authoritative DNA database, and to species-specific databases. 2) Occurrence data will be contributed to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) to expand existing range maps. A multi-faceted evaluation program will develop novel survey instruments to assess the impact of participation in citizen barcoding projects on attitudes toward biodiversity on global climate change.

Associated SEPA Project(s)