A new methodology article from the Hajibabaei lab, entitled “Assessing biodiversity of a freshwater benthic macroinvertebrate community through non-destructive environmental barcoding of DNA from preservative ethanol” has just been published in BMC Ecology, and is available from the journal website.
The authors conclude:
Although NGS approaches have significantly increased the potential of using DNA information in biodiversity analysis, robust methods are needed to provide reliable data and alleviate sample-processing bottlenecks. Here we coupled non-destructive DNA access and a multiplex PCR approach in NGS environmental barcoding for effective data generation from benthic live-sorted samples collected in bulk and preserved in ethanol. Our study provides a possible solution to sampling and vouchering challenges in using benthic samples through next-generation environmental barcoding and facilitates wider utility of DNA information, especially species-specific DNA barcodes, in ecological and environmental studies and real-world applications such as biomonitoring programs.
The Ontario Genomics Institute recently released their Annual Report. Within its pages are detailed discussions of some of the many projects which they fund. One of the projects chosen to be highlighted this year is our own Biomonitoring 2.0. Check out the complete report here.
The Canadian Aquatic Biomonitoring Network (CABIN) is an aquatic biological monitoring program for assessing the health of freshwater ecosystems in Canada. CABIN is based on the network of networks approach that promotes inter-agency collaboration and data-sharing to achieve consistent and comparable reporting on freshwater quality and aquatic ecosystem conditions in Canada. The program is maintained by Environment Canada to support the collection, assessment, reporting and distribution of biological monitoring information.
On November 14-15, 2012, the managers and participants in the CABIN program held their annual Science Forum in Fredericton, New Brunswick. Researchers and managers from across Canada met to discuss their usage of the program and its continued development. Over fifteen speakers presented data and hands-on workshops were conducted.
The Biomonitoring 2.0 project was featured in the forum. Project members Donald Baird, Joel Gibson, and Rob Beiko all presented information on the project. This led to lively discussions about how our new technological and analytical approaches can enhance the existing biomonitoring network.
For more information on the CABIN program, visit their website.
The Biomonitoring 2.0 project was well-represented at two recent scientific conferences held across Canada. Project Manager and Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Joel Gibson, presented original research data and a general background on the project at the Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of Ontario in Ottawa and at the Joint Annual Meeting of the Entomological Society of Canada and Alberta in Edmonton. These conferences included entomology-minded students, researchers, managers, and amateurs from academia, industry, and government agencies.
Dr. Mehrdad Hajibabaei will be presenting a public lecture at 11:15am on Wednesday, November 28th, at the Canada Science and Technology Museum in Ottawa. The public lecture is part of “Genomics: The Power and the Promise”, a Gairdner Foundation-Genome Canada State-of-the-Science event. The title of the talk will be “Genomics for Biodiversity”. More information on the lecture can be found here and registration information can be found here (registration is free for the talk itself, but Museum admission fees apply). A registration form for teachers of grades 9 – 12 who would like their students to attend is available here.