As we look forward to the Fall 2014 School Malaise Trap Program, we find ourselves reflecting upon how it all began. The SMTP website was in its infancy, and certainly didn’t include any sort of blog, but our friends at the BIObus were excited to share some thoughts about the birth of this program.
60 schools, 2000 students,
2 weeks, 12000 DNA barcodes.
Starting tomorrow — Feb. 26, 2013 — the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO) will team up with grade 6 and grade 12 students from 60 schools to explore the insect diversity in their schoolyards through DNA barcoding, a genetic technique for identifying organisms. Using a Malaise trap — a small tent-like apparatus for collecting insects — each school will collect hundreds of insect specimens.
Each school will be visited by the BIObus, BIO’s mobile field laboratory, to introduce students to the life of a biologist and DNA barcoding. A comprehensive lesson plan accompanies the project and addresses specific expectations in the grades 6 and 12 curricula.
Once each class has deployed their Malaise trap for two weeks in April 2013, the samples will be analyzed at BIO and each class will receive a report providing a summary of the insects collected at each school. It will highlight new discoveries, and make comparisons between schools and nearby National Parks.
Stay tuned for many more updates over the next several weeks. Check here on the BIObus blog, but also: