Education and the Barcode of Life: new opportunities to engage students in deep explorations of nature, science, and technology

SANTSCHI, L. A. (1), Ratnasingham, S. R. (2), Pierossi, P. (2), van Wyngaarden, M. (2), Friedberg, J. (3), Husain, N. (3), Hanner, R. H. (2), and Imondi, R. (1)

(1) Coastal Marine Biolabs, United States of America
(2) Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, Canada
(3) Spongelab Interactive, Ontario, Canada

Education has gained significant prominence among the social aspects of the iBOL project. Nevertheless, efforts to exploit the full potential of DNA barcoding to enhance life science instruction have been met by a number of barriers. The absence of a customized and centralized informatics platform where the educational community can seamlessly intersect with the iBOL research community has represented the most significant stumbling block to student engagement in DNA barcoding. This challenge has been compounded by fragmentary information on the concepts and methods of DNA barcoding, pervasive misconceptions regarding barcode data standards and their implications for student participation in iBOL, and a dearth of curriculum materials for use in school/university classroom settings. In an effort to scale our own educational programming and support emerging educational initiatives centered on DNA barcoding, we launched the Education and Barcode of Life (eBOL) Community Web Portal ( Developed in collaboration with science professionals, the eBOL Community Web Portal integrates powerful new resources for educators to overcome these barriers and engage their students in transformative educational experiences. The portal also establishes a framework to facilitate the formation of a professional community committed to advancing DNA barcoding as a new tool to innovate life science education.

Watch Video of Plenary Talk (25 minutes)