Urban Barcode Project
Symposium & Finalist Archive

Symposium: 2017 | 2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012

2016-17 Symposium

The sixth year of the Urban Barcode Project concluded on May 25, 2017 with poster sessions at the New York Academy of Medicine, New York.

At a glance:
43 participating teams
139 students
21 mentors
18 high schools

Taxonomic group studied:

  • 56% plants
  • 21% animals
  • 14% other
  • 9% microbes

Students collected 570+ samples—an average of 13 samples per team—that generated over 900 sequences.

Keynote Address

Some Adventures in Urban Barcoding

Jesse H. Ausubel
Director, Program for the Human Environment
The Rockefeller University

Outstanding Posters

Nathalee Almonte, Jesus Bailon, and Julia Martino mentored by Allison Granberry, Hostos-Lincoln Academy, and Damon P. Little, New York Botanical Garden.

Barcoding Roots to Identify Biodiversity at the Margin of a Small Urban Forest

The winning team studied the biodiversity of a small urban forest, the Thain Family Forest in the Bronx, New York, by DNA barcoding individual roots found in soil samples. The results were compared to an “above ground” morphological data bank in order to determine if below ground plant material could characterize the above ground ecosystem. Results show that while five plant species were reliably identified, DNA barcoding roots did not resolve several other samples to the species level. More than one fourth of the species collected were an invasive species, the Eurasisan native Poa annua.

2015-16 Symposium

The fifth year of the Urban Barcode Project concluded on June 3, 2016 with poster sessions at the Borough of Manhattan Community College, New York.

At a glance:
57 participating teams
172 students
27 mentors
22 high schools

Taxonomic group studied:

  • 44% plants
  • 37% animals
  • 10.5% algae
  • 7% fungi
  • 1.5% other

Students submitted 850+ samples for sequencing—an average of 15 samples/team —that generated over 1200+ sequences.

Outstanding Posters

First Place
Management of an Invasive Species, Corydalis incisa, Along the Bronx River

Sammy Baez, Rosa Bermejo, Josiah Estacio and Sydia Fraguada, mentored by Allison Granberry, Hostos Lincoln Academy, and Damon Little, New York Botanical Garden

Second Place
Assessing the Accuracy of the Usage of Lichens as Index Organisms Through the Assessment of Lichen Species with DNA Barcoding

Bryant Lee, Jai Yoon Chung, and Kengo Kuwama, mentored by Helen Coyle, Tenafly High School

Third Place
The Effect of Salt Marsh Restoration on Ant Biodiversity

Akansha Thakur, Ilona Petrychyn, and Indu Puthenkalam, mentored by Camila Lock, Forest Hills High School

2014-15 Symposium

Thanks to all of the teams who submitted proposals, performed experiments, and presented project results at the poster sessions held at the American Museum of Natural History on May 27, 2015. Seven teams were selected to give oral presentations and compete for the grand prize at the UBP Symposium Award Ceremony on June 8, 2015 at AMNH.

At a glance:
50 participating teams
170 students
29 mentors
22 high schools, 14 public and 8 private

Taxonomic group studied:

  • 62% plants
  • 29% animals
  • 7% microbes
  • 2% fungi

Students submitted 700+ samples for sequencing—an average of 14 samples/team —that generated over 900+ sequences.

Keynote & Finalist Presentations

  • Welcome:
    [00:00:00]
  • Award Ceremony Remarks:
    [00:03:30] Keynote – Susan Perkins
  • Finalist Presentations:
    [00:45:00] Proof of Panax
    [00:55:40] Fish Fraud in NYC
    [01:07:00] In Search of Invasive Plants
    [01:18:45] Bacteria in NY Water Sources
    [01:31:00] Smartphone Bacterial Microbiomes
    [01:41:20] The Impacts on a Marine Ecosystem
    [01:53:30] Macroinvertebrate Bioindicators

Awards Ceremony

Judges:

  • Susan Perkins
    Curator and Professor, Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics and Division of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History
  • Ana Fernandez-Sesma
    Associate Professor of Microbiology, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai
  • Shreya Shah
    Educator and Microbiologist, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Finalists

Grand Prize Winners
Utilizing DNA Barcoding to Identify Macroinvertebrate Bioindicators in Queens Parks

Armani Khan and Jessica Kuppan, mentored by Karen Wong, High School For Construction Trades, Engineering, and Architecture

Second Prize Winners
Proof of Panax: Discovering fraudulence in American ginseng products using DNA barcoding

Ella Epstein and Laura Glesby, mentored by Ileana Rios, Trinity School

Third Prize Winners:
The Effect of Human Impact On Invasive And Native Species Within A Marine Ecosystem

Daval Ram, Nick Holt, and Ron Bepat, mentored by Karen Wong, High School For Construction Trades, Engineering, and Architecture

Third Prize Winners
Fraud, Mislabeling, and Misidentification of Fish Species Sold in New York City

Zachary Glass and Paul Kasiuaunis, mentored by Anat Firnberg, Tenafly High School

Honorable Mention
Bacteria in New York Water Sources

Sarafina Oh, Benjamn Shapiro, Caitlyn Tien, mentored by Matthew Wallenfang and Michelle Lee, Horace Mann School

Honorable Mention
Using DNA Barcode to Survey Seed Distribution Along the Bronx River

Josiah Estacio, Hayford Frempong, Laura Velazquez, and Lizbeth Ortigoza-Pacheco, mentored by Allison Granberry, Hostos-Lincoln Academy and Damon Little, New York Botanical Garden

Honorable Mention
Testing the Correlation Between the Bacterial Microbiomes Found on Mother’s and Their Children’s Smartphones

Azeez Adeyemi, Daniela Finkel, and Tyler Lederer-Plaskett, mentored by Howard Waldman and Adriana Andrade, Ethical Culture Fieldston School

2013-14 Symposium

Thanks to all of the teams who submitted proposals, performed experiments, and presented project results at the poster sessions held at the American Museum of Natural History on May 27, 2014. Six teams were selected to give oral presentations and compete for the grand prize at the UBP Symposium Award Ceremony on June 2, 2014 at AMNH.

At a glance:
38 participating teams
120 students from 26 high schools
22 mentors from 19 institutions

Taxonomic group studied:

  • 47% plants
  • 48% animals
  • 5% fungi

Students submitted 500+ samples—an average of 13 samples/team —that generated over 800+ sequences.

Keynote & Finalist Presentations

  • Welcome:
    [00:00:00] Welcome
    [00:03:00] Diversity of Ants in Park
  • Award Ceremony Remarks:
    [00:07:05] Keynote – Mark Stoeckle
  • Finalist Presentations:
    [00:25:45] Hot Dogs: The Animal Inside
    [00:37:30] Seahorses
    [00:51:20] What's in Your Cup of Coffee
    [01:06:20] Meat Industry Mislabeling
    [01:17:05] Ethnic Market Sausage Mislabeling
    [01:27:25] Halal Cart Meat Legitimacy<

Presentation of Awards

Judges:

  • Mark Stoeckle
    Senior Research Associate, Program for the Human Environment, The Rockefeller University
  • Cristina Trowbridge
    Senior Manager of Professional Development, American Museum of Natural History
  • David Kizirian
    Curatorial Associate, American Museum of Natural History

Finalists

Grand Prize Winners
Using DNA Barcoding to Compare the Trade of Traditional Chinese Medicine of Seahorses, and the Domestic Trade of Seahorses

Eric Bovee and Megan Peters, mentored by Marissa Bellino and J.T. Boehm, High School for Environmental Studies

Second Prize Winners
Street Meat: Investigation of the Legitimacy of NYC Halal Carts Using DNA Barcoding

Maliha Rahman and Annie Yang, mentored by Ileana Rios, Trinity School

Third Prize Winners
Nice to Meat You: Using DNA Barcoding to Detect Mislabeling in the Meat Industry

Sabrina Carrozzi, Grace McKenney, and Alexa Granser, mentored by Mary Musolino, Convent of the Sacred Heart

Honorable Mention
Honorable Mention
An Investigation of Sausage Mislabeling in New York City Ethnic Markets

James Xu and Andrew Giordano, mentored by Ileana Rios, Trinity School

Honorable Mention
Hot Dogs, The Animal Inside: DNA Barcodes of Ten Different Hot Dog Brands

Sarafina Oh and Michael Wang, mentored by Matthew Wallenfang, Horace Mann School

2012-13 Symposium

Thanks to all of the teams who submitted proposals, performed experiments, and presented project results at the poster sessions held at the American Museum of Natural History on May 29, 2013. Six teams were selected to give oral presentations and compete for the grand prize at the UBP Symposium Award Ceremony on June 5, 2013 at AMNH.

At a glance:
  • 41 teams competing
  • 113 students from 19 high schools
  • 20 mentors from 14 institutions
Taxonomic group studied:
  • 54% animals
  • 41% plants
  • 5% fungi

More than 1,100 sequences, from approximately 600 samples. 15 samples per team on average

Keynote & Finalist Presentations

  • Welcome:
    [00:00:00] David Micklos
  • Award Ceremony Remarks:
    [00:06:40] Keynote – George Amato
  • Finalist Presentations:
    [00:30:20] Birds Nest Soup
    [00:42:50] Barcoding Snapping Turtles
    [00:55:00] Allergy Causing Plants
    [01:06:25] Pipefish in New York
    [01:17:15] Ant Biodiversity
    [01:28:50] Terrestrial Plant Bio-Indicators

Presentation of Awards

Judges:

  • George Amato
    Director, Sackler Institute of Comparative Genomics, American Museum of Natural History
  • David Micklos
    Executive Director, DNA Learning Center, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Susan Perkins
    Curator, American Museum of Natural History

Finalists

Grand Prize Winners
Using DNA Barcodes to Identify Ant Biodiversity in St. Mary’s Park, Bronx, New York

Hillary Ramirez and Kavita Bhikhi, mentored by Allison Granberry, Hostos-Lincoln Academy

Second Prize Winner
A Study of the Primary Ingredient in Birds Nest Soup, Aerodramus fuciphagus

Justin He and Eric Chen, mentored by Ileana Rios, Trinity School

Third Prize Winners
Using Terrestrial Plant Bio-Indicators to Diagnose the Health of New York City

Victoria Majarali and Simranpreet Kanith, mentored by Kelly Lovelett, Brooklyn Technical High School

Honorable Mention
Pipefish in New York

Isaac Burg, Bard High School Early College Manhattan; Sophie Dornbaum, Brooklyn Technical High School; and Valerie Shoates, the Brearley School; mentored by Noah Burg, City University of New York, and Nuala Caomhánach, University College Dublin and AMNH

Honorable Mention
No More Itching and No More Ditching: Using DNA Barcoding to Identify Allergy Causing Plants

Faygie Feiner, Michal Leibowitz, Miriam Rosen, and Mindy Schwartz, mentored by Shulamith Biderman, Yeshiva University High School for Girls

Honorable Mention
DNA Barcoding Snapping Turtles (Chelydra serpentina) and Their Leech Parasites at Staten Island Parks

Kevin Lin and Akash Vaidya, mentored by Eugenia Naro-Maciel and Jenna Pantophlet, Staten Island Technical High School and the College of Staten Island, CUNY

2011-12 Symposium

Thanks to all of the teams who submitted proposals, performed experiments, and presented project results at the poster sessions held at the American Museum of Natural History on May 31 and June 1, 2012. Ten finalist teams presented projects at the Symposium on Wednesday, June 6, 2012.

At a glance:
75 teams competing
218 students from 31 high schools, 23 public and 8 private
38 mentors from 29 institutions

Taxonomic group studied:

  • 56% animals
  • 36% plants
  • 7% fungi
  • 1% multiorganisms

More than 2,500 sequences, from approximately 1,000 samples. 15 samples per team on average

Award Ceremony Remarks

Rob DeSalle

Curator, American Museum of Natural History

Rob DeSalle welcomes the student finalists and congratulates them on the importance of their projects to wildlife conservation.

Jesse H. Ausubel

Vice President, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation

Jesse H. Ausubel describes the history of DNA barcoding and congratulates the student teams on the diversity of their projects.

Bruce W. Stillman

President, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory

Bruce W. Stillman describes the history of the DNA Learning Center, and the unique experience provided by the Urban Barcode Project

Finalists

Grand Prize Winners
Traditional Chinese Medicine: Using Barcodes to Identify the Content of Ginkgo Products

Bobby Glover, Mary Acheampong, and Marisa VanBrakle, mentored by Allison Granberry Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science in the Bronx

Second Prize Winners
The Fungus amungus: DNA barcode-based survey of fungal biodiversity in Central Park

Tyler Bell, Elias Strizower, Sarah Sutto-Plunz, and Philip To, mentored by Marisa Wagner, The Bronx High School of Science

Second Prize Winners
What species are sold as "catfish" in New York City?

Jalwa Afroz, Townsend Harris High School; with Wajiha Kazmi and Janki Tailor, Queens High School for the Sciences at York College; mentored by Elizabeth Alter, CUNY York College

Third Prize Winners
Assessing Genetic Differences Among Atlantic Silversides (Menidia menidia) in New York

Caitlin Bauer, The Beacon School with Samantha Eng and Kadeem Walsh, Brooklyn Technical High School; mentored by Noah Burg, The American Museum of Natural History

Third Prize Winners
Assessing the Identification, Distribution, and Diversity of Killifish in the Genus Fundulus in New York City Coastal Waters

Jeffrey Lin, Staten Island Technical High School, and Michelle Yu, The Bronx High School of Science, mentored by Noah Burg, The American Museum of Natural History

Fourth Prize Winners
Barcoding Cimex lectularius

Era Lame and Nuttha Siriwatanakul mentored by Marissa Bellino, High School for Environmental Studies

Fourth Prize Winners
Fruit Express: DNA Barcodes of Melons and Pears in Different Neighborhoods in NYC

Alissa Borshchenko, Jia Ling Chen, Lai Yee Kwan, and Whitney Lai, mentored by Kelly Lovelett, Brooklyn Technical High School

Fourth Prize Winners
A Sea of Names: The Confusion Surrounding the Common Names of Fish

Ariela Farnham and August Zuzworsky, mentored by John Zuzworsky, Home-schooled students

Fourth Prize Winners
South Bronx Ants: DNA Barcodes of Ants in St. Mary’s Park

Kavita Bhikhi, Lachoy Harris, Randol Mata, and Hillary Ramirez, mentored by Allison Granberry, Hostos-Lincoln Academy of Science

Honorable Mention
DNA Barcoding Exotic Agricultural Pests Seized by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection

Robyn Tse, Massapequa High School, mentored by Mark Stoeckle, The Rockefeller University