Welcome back loyal readers!
This summer has just sped by; it is already my last week as a full-time employee at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, consequently this will be my last blog. I am looking forward to returning to school in the fall to complete my Bachelor of Biological Science. I am so appreciative of everything that I was able to participate in this summer.
Since the last time I wrote, I have partaken in the bioblitz at the rare Charitable Research Reserve on Sunday, August 16th and the 6th International Barcode of Life conference at the University of Guelph. These different experiences were definitely memorable opportunities for which I am very grateful. My experiences of these events are a little bit different than other students at BIO because I work in the archive.
Different types of standardized sampling have taken place at rare Charitable Research Reserve since the beginning of the summer and field season. The insects had been caught, sampled, processed and then archived. Once in the archive, the finalized insects from the reserve were arranged according to BIN (Barcode Identification Number) by me and my coworker Allison. BINs (ex. BOLD:ABC123) identify the taxonomy of the specimen through its DNA barcode and categorizes the same species together. These BINs can be found on BOLD, and allows collaborators to see how similar species are organized based on their DNA. For the rare bioblitz, the pinned specimens were organized by BIN and then arranged by: order, family, subfamily, genus, and species if possible, to allow external collaborators to observe and identify the previously collected specimens. For the fluid specimens, as the plates hold 95 specimens and cannot easily be re-arranged, the plates were organized by their plate barcode in ascending order. This allowed the plates to be found quickly and efficiently in the temporary archive at the rare Charitable Research Reserve.
My experience is considerably different than the majority of people who participated at the bioblitz. I databased the specimen sheets, alongside my coworker Reid, that were being completed while people were sorting and plating specimens. Although I normally museum database, this was my first time databasing straight from the specimen sheets as the plates were being made.
Similar to the bioblitz, the week previous to the iBOL conference was spent preparing loans and arranging specimen by BINs. During the conference, BIO had a number of external collaborators who spent some time in the archive, identifying specimens from the rare BINs. Although BIO was not able to loan the actual specimen from the bioblitz, we are able to loan other specimen from within the same BIN. This allows collaborators to identify the specimen down to species, without the exact bioblitz specimen leaving BIO or having the possibility of becoming damaged by transport.
I have relished learning various new skills this summer through working for BIO. Being able to contribute to field work earlier this summer was amazing, while I have also valued being able to organize loans and prepare specimen for taxonomic identification. Working in the archive this summer has reinforced my growing love for entomology and biodiversity.
Thank you for reading.