Description of Select Sessions:
Pollen Barcoding/Pollination Biology
Chair: Kevin Burgess (Columbus State University, USA)
Committee: Karen Bell (Emory University, USA), Berry Brosi (Emory University, USA) & Natasha DeVere (National Botanic Garden of Wales)
Description: This session will target papers related to pollination biology and the barcoding of pollen or pollen products. The purpose of this session is to facilitate dialogue on the development of pollen barcoding techniques to investigate ecological questions relating to the movement of pollen. We hope this symposium will also serve as a forum to share strategies for the identification of pollen in a variety of additional contexts. These may include: the barcoding of pollen to identify the floral composition of honey, the use of DNA barcodes in forensic science, or how DNA barcoding can facilitate the identification of pollen allergens, to name a few. We look forward to abstract submissions related to this exciting and emerging field of inquiry.
Co-Chairs: Sarah Adamowicz (University of Guelph, Canada) & Melania Cristescu (McGill University, Canada)
Description: DNA barcoding campaigns provide large datasets of DNA sequences from standardized genomic regions, providing new opportunities for broad investigations of patterns of molecular evolution. In turn, improved understanding of rates and patterns of molecular evolution informs analysis of DNA barcode data, such as for delineation of Molecular Operational Taxonomic Units (MOTUs). This session will host research on topics such as: relative rates of molecular evolution among taxa, associations between molecular rates and traits or environments, molecular clock calibrations, and patterns of sequence variability (such as nucleotide composition).
Conservation and Biodiversity Forensics
Co-Chairs: Monica Mwale (National Zoological Gardens, South Africa) & Michelle van der Bank (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Description: This session will provide a forum for research studies using the DNA barcoding approach in the forensic identification of a wide range of organisms that are illegally harvested and traded. The objective is to provide practical examples and ideas that demonstrate how the DNA barcode reference library can be useful in forensic identification of species from minute samples in crime investigation for law enforcement. The aim is to also highlight the potential of forensic methods in conservation research of threatened species and biodiversity.
Ethnobotany Genomics and Medicinal Plants
Co-Chairs: Parani Madasamy (SRM University, Chennai, India) & Subramanyam Ragupathy (University of Guelph, Canada)
Committee: Natalia Ivanova (University of Guelph, Canada) & Maria Kuzmina (University of Guelph, Canada)
Description: This symposium focuses on the discipline of ethnobotany genomics, which is defined as exploring the variation in genomic sequences from many species of plants associated with traditional knowledge. The concept is founded on the idea of an “assemblage” of biodiversity knowledge—a coming together of different ways of knowing and valorizing species variation. This novel approach seeks to add value to both traditional and scientific knowledge. This session will include papers on topics such as: patterns of DNA sequence variation among plant species/races used for food and medicinal purposes, marketplace applications of ethnobotany genomics (such as valorization and authentication of traditional herbal medicines), and the development of tools that will serve efforts to conserve biodiversity and provide economic opportunities for rural communities.
Education and Barcoding
Chair: Dirk Steinke (University of Guelph, Canada)
Committee: Heather Henter (University of California, San Diego)
Description: DNA barcoding provides an outstanding basis for science instruction because it bridges disciplines. As well, its workflows are simple enough that students at school and postsecondary levels can participate in all aspects of the analytical chain from specimen collection to data interpretation. The power of DNA barcoding in educational contexts was signaled in 2013 when this approach won the Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction (IBI). This session will serve as a venue for educational projects that bridge the biodiversity knowledge gap and advance DNA barcoding as an interdisciplinary teaching and learning tool.
Policy and Regulatory Developments: Supporting Laws to Protect Threatened Species
Chair: David Schindel (Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, USA)
Description: The Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL) and the Barcode of Wildlife Project (BWP) invite abstracts describing initiatives to use DNA barcoding in the enforcement of species protection laws. Several presenters will describe BWP which is supported by one of the first Google Global Impact Awards, granted to CBOL in 2012. BWP is working with six developing country partners to enable them to use barcodes for investigating and prosecuting poaching and trafficking of endangered species that are protected under CITES and national laws. We invite abstracts that describe projects and other initiatives that seek to create partnerships among barcoding labs, government agencies, and/or private companies for the regulatory use of DNA barcodes for protecting endangered species. Abstracts that describe barcoding studies of particular endangered species (e.g., medicinal plants, bushmeat species) should be submitted to other technical sessions that focus on those taxonomic groups.