The Collections Unit at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) is extremely excited that we’ll soon be helping out with this fall’s edition of the School Malaise Trap Program (SMTP). We are anxiously awaiting the samples to arrive next week, when we finally get to do our part in the ‘DNA barcoding’ process. Our unit is basically responsible for all the steps leading up to the lab work – we collect specimens in the field, sort the trap samples and specimens, then database, photograph and tissue sample. That small piece of tissue (or the entire specimen for very small organisms) is then handed off to the laboratory where that unit is responsible for DNA extraction, amplification of the DNA barcode region, and finally DNA sequencing. For the SMTP, we’re getting hundreds of young biologists helping with the field collection, and we can’t wait to see what they trapped in their schoolyards. Who knows – maybe they’ll collect species we’ve never found before and they’ll have to give us advice!
Stay tuned for an update from us next week when the samples have arrived and we’re ‘forceps-deep’ in all the great trap samples collected through the SMTP.