Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Barcoding Fauna Bavarica 2

It seems to be a great week for German DNA Barcoding. After posting on the announcement of an award to the Zoological Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn I received news that the prestigious project "Barcoding Fauna Bavarica" will receive another Euro 750 000 from the Bavarian State Ministry for Science, Research and the Arts for five more years work on the project. 

The project aims to barcode the entire fauna (and subsequently other life as well) of the German state Bavaria. Bavaria is home to about 34 000 animals species and in the last four years the project managed to barcode over 11 000 of them. Here is a video that nicely summarizes the campaign:

The project is run by the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology (ZSM) in Munich. The ZSM is a key partner in the German Barcode of Life initiative and given the advanced stage of Barcoding Fauna Bavarica likely its largest contributor at this point. 

The second round of the project is divided into three work packages:
Work package 1: Filling the gaps in the current library by DNA Barcoding the remaining species. The project will shift focus to fungi, lichens, algae, diptera, red list species, FFH species (Fauna-Flora-Habitat directive of the EU), and neozoans. Also some efforts will be made to barcode old museum material (rare and extinct species).

Work package 2: Creating interfaces (through DNA Barcoding) between biology, medical sciences, forestry, agriculture and food production. This will specifically include indoor pathogens (e.g. fungi) as well as human/mammalian/vertebrate pathogens and parasites.

Work package 3: Offering digital and web-based portals to bring biodiversity information (as outreach for ongoing barcoding projects) to the public (especially schools and universities) and to the expert user including a digitization program for Bavarian collection material at the ZSM.

Of course I am proud to be a barcoder of German descent this week (and not only this week). After a stuttering start into the barcoding business with a lot of initial skepticism among researchers, Germany managed to become a leading country within iBOL and demonstrates that it is possible to jointly build state and country-wide reference libraries that are actually used.

Congratulations to the team in the Free State of Bavaria.

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