Barcoding Canada’s Plants at the UBC Herbarium – Beaty Museum

For the past two weeks, we have had a small team scanning and tissue sampling plants at the University of British Columbia Herbarium in the beautiful Beaty Museum in Vancouver, BC.   As we discussed in an earlier post, BIO is coordinating a project involving researchers across Canada to DNA barcode all of Canada’s 5582 vascular plants for the  International Barcode of Life Project.  Visiting herbaria across Canada is a highly efficient (and fun!) way to access the last 20% of species we still need to barcode, and also provides an opportunity to meet with the other team members on the project.   The UBC Herbarium is home to more than 235,000 accessioned specimens of vascular plants from around the world, and specifically for our project, it contains over 400 Canadian species that still need to be DNA barcoded.  We’re working hard on our visit to image and tissue sample as many of these species as we can, and we’re well on our way — we have sampled 377 species and 968 specimens in the first two weeks!  See below for some pictures of our visit.

Thank you to Collections Manager Linda Jennings, Curators Sean Graham & Quentin Cronk, and graduate student Erin Fenneman for hosting our visit and collaborating with us on this massive project.

For more about the UBC Herbarium, check out the museum website, or explore their data on Canadensys. To see a few examples of their huge contribution to DNA barcoding plants in Canada and elsewhere, check out a few of their recent publications:

Percy, D.M., G.W. Argus, Q.C. Cronk, A.J. Fazekas, P.R. Kesanakurti, K.S. Burgess, B.C. Husband, S.G. Newmaster, S.C.H. Barrett and S.W. Graham 2014. Understanding the spectacular failure of DNA barcoding in willows (Salix): Does this result from a trans-specific selective sweep? Molecular Ecology 19:4737-4756.

Hollingsworth PM, Graham SW, Little DP (2011) Choosing and Using a Plant DNA Barcode. PLoS ONE 6(5): e19254. 

Hollingsworth, P.M., L.L. Forrest, J.L. Spouge, M. Hajibabaei, S. Ratnasingham, M. van der Bank, M.W. Chase, R.S. Cowan, D.L. Erickson, A.J. Fazekas, S.W. Graham, et al. (2009) A DNA barcode for land plants. PNAS 106:12794-12797.

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