It’s our pleasure to announce the official opening of Barcode Long Island 2018-19! We look forward to your participation this year.
We are excited to announce a number of updates for the upcoming program year!
In addition to standard full proposals, students can join one of five campaigns. Multiple student teams will collect similar organisms at different locations so the pooled results reveal the diversity and distribution of these taxa across Long Island. Participation in a campaign will also streamline the proposal process for teams.
This year’s campaigns include:
*Teams that plan to work on a mosquito campaign need to submit proposals early in the season to ensure that mosquitos can still be collected. Note that students may need to research ways to trap mosquitos for collection, as they may be difficult to catch. The DNALC has BG Sentinel mosquito traps available for rent-please contact us if your team is interested in borrowing a trap.
You can find a streamlined proposal form for campaigns under the BLI section of the “Resources” tab. Completed proposal forms will be uploaded by the mentor on the proposal database for each team participating in a campaign, in place of a full proposal. Campaign forms must contain all requested information, and will still be reviewed by BLI staff for accuracy and clarity.
Teams participating in a campaign will need to submit their proposed collection location, including approximate latitude and longitude, on the proposal form. To ensure collection from different sites, proposed locations will be accepted on a first come, first served basis. If other teams have already been approved to collect in your teams’ proposed location(s), we will contact you to discuss alternatives. Additionally, campaign projects still need to include a hypothesis and human health component.
For teams submitting a full proposal, we strongly encourage collection of small organisms (smaller than 10 mm) and require collection of organisms that cannot be easily identified using taxonomic keys. This eliminates the majority of terrestrial plants and larger invertebrates, with the exception of insects that are hard to identify. This recommendation is aimed at increasing the likelihood that students will find informative sequences, adding to the scientific knowledge of biodiversity on Long Island. Examples could include small round or flat worms (not earth worms) that are found in most environments and are very diverse, small arthropods, fungi without large fruiting bodies, and microscopic organisms like protists, all of which are poorly characterized, often very diverse, and difficult to identify. Lichen and moss projects are also welcome. Teams or schools with established collection sites are encouraged to continue collection at these sites if they aim to collect a time series of biodiversity at these locations
As in previous years, student research should be framed in terms of human well-being. This could be accomplished by proposing to study organisms that can affect human health (like vectors of disease); pests, like chiggers or biting ants; sources of allergens (fungi, for instance—but not easily identified plants); or organisms associated with unclean water. Alternatively, the projects could focus on climate change, pollution, or other human activity that might degrade the environment (such as increases in nitrogen levels, disturbance of ecosystems, urban/suburban development, etc.), through identification or tracking of indicator species. Note that these projects will require extensive literature searches by the students when developing ideas, which will need to be reflected in their project proposals. We further encourage the incorporation of additional information (such as pH, ground/water temperature, contaminant levels, etc., if possible) into proposals as many teams have done in previous years.
Mentors trained in microbiome or eDNA metabarcoding wet-lab techniques and bioinformatics analyses through the DNALC are welcome to create and submit proposals for up to two teams per mentor. Metabarcoding teams are allotted 21 reactions per team, including samples and an appropriate control in triplicate (i.e. 6 unique conditions + a control). Students doing metabarcoding research are still required to develop projects around LI biodiversity with an appropriate human health component. If one or both of your teams plan to do marine fish work, please contact BLI staff to discuss further.
We ask that students avoid projects focused on the collection of clams, crabs, oysters, snails, Phragmites, and most terrestrial plants, due to their limited diversity, exhaustive previous documentation, and/or ease of taxonomic identification. Should students choose to do a terrestrial plant project, they will need to include references indicating why none of the above conditions are met for their proposed samples. Examples of acceptable terrestrial plant proposals: a team works with a conservation group at a park to barcode plants that are difficult to identify for trained professionals; a team finds resources which indicate a particular group of plants are highly diverse yet not well studied across Long Island.
To create a team and submit a proposal, mentors will need to log in to the proposal database. New mentors will need to register to create a user name and password for the proposal database. Please register with the same email you used to sign up for the summer training workshop.
Student proposals will be reviewed on a rolling basis, but as in previous years we are providing four submission dates to help organize teams. Note that proposal review usually takes 1-2 weeks, but can take longer in November-December. The FINAL deadline for initial submission will be December 10, 2018. There will be NO EXCEPTIONS.
BLI guidelines for participation, as well as a rubric for evaluation of “full” proposals can be found under the BLI section of the “Resources” tab. Please review your students’ proposals to ensure their proposed research meets our guidelines, includes appropriate references to the literature, and meets your writing standards before submission. Please review campaign proposal forms for accuracy and clarity as well.
Mark your calendars! The BLI Student Symposium is Tuesday, June 4th, 2019 at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.