Wednesday, February 26, 2020

5 Million Specimens at the CBG collection

Over the past decade and a half our Natural History collection here at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics continuously grew and today our media team publicly announced that we surpassed the 5 Million Specimen mark. Mind you all of those are digitized (and barcoded).

Here the official press release:

February 2020 marks an important milestone for the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) at the University of Guelph. CBG’s in-house natural history collection (CBG Collections) has reached five million barcode voucher specimens. Each specimen is fully digitized, sequenced and available online through the Barcode of Life Data System platform (BOLD).
Since its inception in 2006, the barcode reference collection at CBG has grown steadily. The development of DNA barcoding high-throughput workflows has enabled the rapid collection, processing and sequencing of millions of specimens from across the globe. In the last five years, CBG has sorted, prepared and DNA barcoded 800,000 specimens per year before archiving in this unique reference collection. With the recent addition of the PacBio Sequel sequencing platform and launch of the BIOSCAN program, the CBG aspires to grow the collection by one to two million specimens each year.
The final specimen array of 95 specimens added to CBG Collections to reach five million were collected in a Malaise trap located in Guanacaste, Costa Rica as part of the ongoing BIOSCAN project BioAlfa. The array was very diverse, and included some of the following insects:
  • Hawk moth (Sphingidae: Xylophanes hannemanni) – these strong-flying moths have been recorded year-round in Costa Rica and have multiple generations per year.
  • Spider wasp (Pompilidae) – attack and paralyze spiders to lay their eggs on and feed their young; the adults feed on nectar.
  • Tortoise beetle (Chrysomelidae: Hybosa) – a common beetle that can be encountered in your own backyard; they feed on plant tissues and some are agricultural pests.
  • Lanternfly (Fulgoridae) – a colourful true-bug found throughout the tropics; despite their name, they do not emit light like a lantern.
  • Robber fly or assassin fly (Asilidae) – are ambush predators that target other insects for a meal.
  • Leafhopper (Cicadellidae: Erythrogonia) – come in a variety of colours and patterns and are found worldwide; leafhoppers are small insects with over 20,000 species described.