The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), from the University of Guelph, was at St. Marys DCVI last Tuesday morning with its BIObus, a mobile field laboratory.
Teacher Nick Seebach’s Grade 12 Biology class at DCVI is participating in the “School Malaise Trap Program.”
“Through (BIO), the school is participating in a scientific biodiversity study this spring,” Seebach explained. “We’re pretty excited that they’re here and we’re excited that DCVI can be part of this worldwide study. It’s going on all over the world, and it’s great that St. Marys is involved.
“It’s nice from a scientific point of view that the students can see how a real scientific study is conducted.”
BIO is visiting 60 schools (Grade 6 and Grade 12 students) across Ontario this spring to explore the insect diversity in their schoolyards through DNA barcoding, a genetic technique for identifying organisms. Using a Malaise trap, a small tent-like apparatus, each school will collect hundreds of insect specimens.
Once each class has set up their Malaise trap for two weeks in April/May, the samples will be analyzed at BIO, and each class will receive a report summarizing the insects collected at each school.
A Malaise trap will be set up at DCVI to capture insects the last two weeks of April. “The study will help determine what insect populations are like in Ontario schoolyards,” Seebach added.
This project is part of an ongoing effort to collect insects in order to document the small and often overlooked cohabitants on this planet.
Data manager Brianne St. Jacques, one of three BIO coordinators at DCVI last week, said they will be “DNA barcoding” the various species captured at schools around southwestern Ontario.
“We will get back to the various schools what we found,” St. Jacques said.
DNA barcoding was invented at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario 10 years ago.