BOLD - the Art of DNA Barcoding

Guanacaste Series A - BOLD Caterpillars - Photography by Dr. Daniel Janzen

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Images courtesy of Daniel Janzen.  Professor Daniel Janzen’s prints made possible by the generous support of the Hattie Ettinger Conservation Fund at the San Diego Foundation 


What is the Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG)?

A UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999, the Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG) in Costa Rica is a vast protected ecosystem with an area of 120,000 terrestrial and 70,000 marine hectares.  The ACG contains important natural habitats for the conservation of biological diversity – approximately 230,000 species in total – including the best dry forest habitats from Central America to northern Mexico and key habitats for endangered or rare plant and animal species. The site demonstrates significant ecological processes in both its terrestrial and marine-coastal environments. (*modified from UNESCO)

The mission of the ACG is to conserve the biodiversity of the ecosystems and the cultural heritage present in the ACG, as a model of development which integrates society in the management of the Area. Learn more here.

Help save the ACG!

You can help to save the ACG by clicking here. $1000 buys one acre of rain forest to add to ACG - and there are still 2000 acres left to save away from the chainsaws.

What is a DNA barcode?

DNA barcoding uses a small fragment of a single gene in an organism’s DNA to identify the species to which that organism belongs, much like one might use a UPC barcode to distinguish different products.  These powerful tools are helping scientists to catalogue the world’s biodiversity.  The process began in Guelph, Ontario, Canada, and scientists here – like collaborator Dr. Paul Hebert of the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (see below) – continue to lead international work aiming to catalogue the earth’s life forms completely.

More information:

Did you know?

  • $1000 purchases 50 specimens barcoded into the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD), the global DNA barcode database
  • $10,000,000 will barcode - and hence save - all of Costa Rica, 4% of the world's biodiversity
  • $3 billion will barcode the world (20 years)
  • $20,000,000 will give us the hand-held personal barcorder, hence putting 7.5 billion people to work barcoding the world

About the collaborators

Dan Janzen, PhD, is an evolutionary ecologist, naturalist, and conservationist, and Dimaura Professor of Conservation Biology at the University of Pennsylvania.  For 56 years he has spent much of his time doing field research in Costa Rica and since 1985 has been a founder and technical advisor to Area de Conservación Guanacaste (ACG).  ACG, 2% of Costa Rica and the size of New York City and all its suburbs, is the oldest, largest and most successful tropical habitat restoration project in the world, located just south of the Costa Rica-Nicaragua border. Click here for more information about Dr. Janzen's efforts.

Paul Hebert, PhD, a globally recognized pioneer of DNA Barcoding, is Canada Research Chair of Molecular Biodiversity and Director of the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding at the Biodiversity Institute, University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.  He is also Principal Investigator on the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) project.  Click here for more information about Dr. Hebert's work.

Ontario Genomics Institute (OGI) is a private, not-for-profit corporation based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, focused on using world-class research to create strategic genomics resources and accelerate Ontario’s development of a globally-competitive life sciences sector.  Through its relationship with Genome Canada, the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation, and other private and public sector partners, OGI works to: identify, attract and support investment in Ontario-led genomics research; catalyze access to and the impact of genomics resources; and, raise the visibility of genomics as well as its impact and associated issues.  Click here to return to our home page and learn more about OGI.

For more information, click on these links of interest:

Biodiversity and conservation
•    Area Conservacion de Guanacaste (Costa Rica)

The art of Joseph Rossano
•    Joseph Rossano’s official site

DNA barcoding
•    Barcode of Life Data Systems
•    Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding
•    International Barcode of Life (iBOL)

Data and images from the ACG caterpillar rearing inventory
•    Joe Rossano barcoded butterflies in Fusion Tables
•    Other ACG barcoded butterflies in Fusion Table blog
•    Janzen and Hallwachs caterpillar inventory database