Digitisation through DNA Barcoding and Informatics


The presentations from the Pacific Science Intercongress session on DNA Barcoding and Informatics are now available for viewing online. The presentations are broken into two sessions, which are summarised below:

Reference collections in museums, herbaria, botanical gardens, zoos and other repositories are critical infrastructure for research, education, regulation and legislation related to biodiversity. These collections provide documentation of research results as well as long-term changes in nature. Patterns of ecological, evolutionary and anthropogenic changes often go unseen and undocumented until samples from these collections material are analyzed and re-analyzed using the latest technology. In order to be accessible and effective, reference collections need to be digitized and their data and metadata made available to the research and education community, to policy-makers, and to the general public. Digitization in the most general sense is the association of an organism and its characteristics to a unique identifier that can be indexed for later searching and retrieval. It can take several forms, ranging from digital capture of label data (date and place of collection, taxonomic identification) to digital image capture and even DNA sequencing.

This session included a half-day symposium of contributed presentations on DNA barcoding and a half-day instructional workshop on biodiversity informatics. The DNA barcoding symposium contributed toward development of a regional strategy for Oceania for construction and use of standardized barcode libraries. These libraries could serve basic research in ecology and evolution and/or applications such as the protection of endangered species and control of invasive alien species such as agricultural pests. The biodiversity informatics workshop showcased initiatives such as the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), the Atlas of Living Australia (ALA), [insert NZ node/initiative] and digitization initiatives such as iDigBio and Australia’s Virtual Herbarium (AVH). This session explored applications and network tools appropriate for the small and scattered countries and territories of Oceania. Participants learned the latest approaches to the digitization of natural history collections and explored how these could be applied to their collections. The session concluded with a round-table discussion on strategic development of, and support for, biodiversity informatics in the Oceania region.