Tag Archives: citizen science

Fall 2014 SMTP Results Have Been Issued!

PicMonkey CollageThe results are in for the Fall 2014 School Malaise Trap Program and they are truly remarkable! This Fall marked the first nationwide offering of the program, with students from across Canada exploring the biodiversity in their schoolyards and discovering how we can use DNA barcoding to inventory life on our planet. In all, 2,479 students from 92 classrooms, 59 schools, 46 cities, and 6 provinces and territories participated in the program. The 59 Malaise traps collected specimens from September 22 to October 3.

The 59 traps on average collected 1,034 specimens for the collecting period. Our staff sorted 61,052 specimens and 13,846 of these primarily insect specimens were barcoded. The DNA barcodes allowed us to determine that 3,402 species were collected over the two week period of the program, more than twice as many as any of our previous School Malaise Trap Programs! We are excited to report that 324 of these species were brand new to our DNA barcode library (BOLD), representing a significant contribution to the International Barcode of Life project.

To view the full results of the program, including an overall detailed program report, full species list, and full image library, please click here. You can also access our “winners” ranking sheets here.

PicMonkey Collage1Not only were your collection numbers astounding, your species discoveries were even more exciting! Over the next few weeks the SMTP team will be highlighting your discoveries through our blog posts and we hope that you will do the same! First off, let’s get a sense of what you collected in your Malaise trap.

Most of the 3,402 species that you collected were arthropods — invertebrates with a hard external skeleton. If you look at the pie chart below, you’ll notice that many (36%) of the species were flies (scientific name: Diptera). Some groups of flies were particularly diverse; there were 285 species of midges (Chironomidae), 116 species of fungus gnats (Sciaridae), and 95 species of scuttle flies (Phoridae). In addition, just like Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 programs, the most abundant species was a midge. After flies, the next most species diverse group was bees, wasps, and ants (Hymenoptera), followed by the true bugs (Hemiptera). Most of the species in these groups have wings, so it’s not surprising that they were collected in your Malaise traps. However, you also collected some groups that don’t fly such as springtails (Collembola), spiders (Araneae), and snails (Stylommatophora).

Fall 2014 SMTP Detailed Program Pie Chart


Stay tuned for our Fall 2014 interesting species discoveries!

BIO is heading to STAO: Join Us In Inspiring Innovation!

Banner400Each year, the Science Teacher’s Association of Ontario hosts an interactive and educational three day STEM conference in Toronto for elementary and secondary teachers from across Ontario. This year, the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario’s (BIO) Education & Outreach Team will be in attendance and will be presenting two workshops regarding the School Malaise Trap Program (Friday, Nov. 14th, 3:45-4:45pm – Session #2510) and DNA Barcoding applications for the classroom (Thursday, Nov. 13th, 8:30 – 9:30am – Session #1013). We are extremely excited to be able to participate and contribute to such a passionate community of STEM educators!

This year’s STAO conference theme is “inspiring innovation” and was chosen in order to “help science educators in Ontario better understand the significance of STEM education and how it can prepare students for a rapidly changing global world.” We could not have said it better ourselves, as we too have a deep connection to these values!

DNA Barcodingibol2, a genetic technique used to identify species, is a relatively new addition to the Ontario curriculum. Its applications are far reaching, and astounding initiatives have been created through utilizing this technology – most notably, the International Barcode of Life project (iBOL). This project is the largest biodiversity genomics initiative ever undertaken and aims to create a barcode reference library (BOLD) of all the species found on earth.

LifeScanner Kit

Feeling inspired and innovative yet? We thought so! The best part about the International Barcode of Life project is that anyone can contribute to it, as well as access the data (found online at BOLD). Classroom projects and programs ranging from DIY lab studies, participating in the School Malaise Trap Program, and submitting a LifeScanner kit for analysis are some of the many ways that students can contribute valuable data to iBOL!

Through these innovative citizen science initiatives, BIO hopes to inspire students to contribute to, and prepare for, a bioliterate future.  Although we live in a fast-paced and rapidly changing world, DNA barcoding is a key piece of technology that will help us to slow down and truly assess, protect, and monitor all levels of biodiversity found around us.

A Few More

MOTH AND BEE–About 5-7 more insects were caught yesterday while it damper and colder at St. Ignatius of Loyola. Although it was a slower day,  new additions include: a bee and a small type of moth. The moth is something we have not had before so the variety has been really interesting for us to see.

IMG_0647 (1)

First Week of the Malaise Trap Program

We saw a wasp on Monday, September 22, when we first went there, but the bottle wasn’t in the Malaise Trap yet. Then, on Friday when we had the bottle on, we caught some insects like a wasp and lots of flies.

We love the program and this Malaise Trap Program is fun because we are learning about insects. Flying insects go in the trap then die. We caught lots of them last week and we might catch more insects this week.

About the Trap

The trap has two shades – black and white. In the middle there is a net to keep insects from flying through the middle and getting away. The roof goes up in one spot and there is a hole that is bright like the sun so they fly for it and fall into a tube filled with ethanol. The ethanol is used to preserve the insects.


Day 2, sept 23 results (2)

St. Paul Malaise Trap

Hey  it is Sophie and Daniella! We’re on week 2 of our Malaise Trap project. It’s a good start (we’ve caught 8 bugs in one hour!). The weather has been good which is why we have “so many” insects. We hope that by the end of week 2, our catch volume will be greater than week 1.

Blog you later!!!

Week 1's bottle
Week 1’s bottle

Forest Ave. Finds Value in Bug Collecting!

It will be amazing if we can find any new species of bugs that help us or are a danger to us – even bugs that have medicines to cure diseases.  Our school has caught a lot of small bugs but we’ve caught very few big bugs.  I think the most common bug we have caught is a fly because they always fly around our school.  – A. (gr4)