Tackling the ambitious project of assembling a DNA barcode library for 80K species of Lepidoptera by 2015 requires the active participation of a large and growing team of collaborators. This team operates within a very organized framework that optimizes the efficiency of the key steps of the process:
Specimen and taxon sampling is of critical importance to reach the objectives of the campaign. To optimize it, several campaigns have been initiated. These campaigns are either:
- Sampling of tissues/specimens, identification, gathering of collateral data and images
- Data submission and assembly into BOLD with particular attention to critical elements such as taxonomy (in relation to checklists), GPS coordinates and images
- Laboratory work (use of adapted protocols which may vary with the age of samples for instance) and sample process tracking (based on the LIMs, a CCDB internal tracking system)
- Analysis of DNA barcodes, data curation and publications
New campaigns of these types will be initiated and developed. Each one will need to be based on an existing checklist. The largest ones are represented by separate pages on this website to monitor their progress and facilitate their management. Nevertheless, all campaigns will also benefit of the management tools incorporated in BOLD and in its taxonomy browser.
- Global, targeting the world fauna of a family. For instance the Geometridae, Sphingidae, Saturniidae, Micropterigidae, Sesiidae or Pterophoridae
- Continental, targeting all Lepidoptera species on a continent. For instance all Lepidoptera of North-America and all Lepidoptera of Australia
The subdivisions of the iBOL Lepidoptera campaign imply a dedicated management of sampling strategies. Indeed, in order to fulfill the objectives of gathering 80K species with a mean of 10 specimens per species, special attention is needed to avoid redundant sampling as well as sampling of old specimens when fresher individuals of the same species are available in other collections. To optimize sampling, tools such as BOLD taxonomy browser and discussion lists available within this website are developed. These tools are available to all participants and permit a live and interactive on-line control on current sampling. Lists of missing or poorly sampled taxa can be generated from BOLD checklists (global family checklists or All-Lepidoptera lists for some regions).
Campaign participants can create and manage their own projects on BOLD. As a part of the iBOL All Lepidoptera campaign, an individual project is automatically integrated into the campaign and its progress is reported on this website. Project managers can analyze their data using web-based tools provided by BOLD. In compliance with the iBOL data release policy, they have controls on the distribution of data and how and when to publish their projects.
BOLD is also perfectly adapted to manage confidentiality and restricted access to data. Project managers can easily configure the access to their projects by selecting the project members and setting up their access privileges. New collaborators can be added to a project at any time as project members and be granted access and/or edit privilege to specimen records as well as analyze/view/edit of DNA barcodes.
Finally, the campaign coordinators (see Leadership Team) are responsible for coordinating projects and campaigns, to organize sampling and to improve quality of identifications. As the campaign coordinators automatically have access to all Lepidoptera barcoding projects that are part of the iBOL campaign, they have both the privilege and responsibility to analyze barcode data collected from broader geographic regions and/or on larger taxonomic scales. This allows them to communicate with individual project/campaign managers and facilitates their ability to point out findings such as genetic divergence of species with wide geographic distributions, potential overlooked or cryptic species, life-stage and sex associations, etc. Sequence data are kept confidential between project managers, project members, and the campaign coordinator. Project managers maintain authorship to their own data.
The campaign coordinators are also responsible to organize workshops and meetings during the course of the project. These events are envisioned as a mean to make regular assessment of the progress of the campaign and campaigns, to adjust sampling strategies and to better structure the community of contributors. Workshops dedicated to checklist curation and organization of revisionary work are planned, with the ambition of inviting young taxonomists and interested students – in particular from developing countries – to join the workforce. Although iBOL is not directly funding taxonomic activities, the momentum resulting from the campaign is expected to create some solid funding opportunities for further taxonomic work. As a consequence, campaign coordinators will actively foster the development of working groups and workshops aiming to assemble grant applications toward integrative revisionary taxonomy of Lepidoptera groups.
The Lepidoptera Barcode of Life campaign is being coordinated at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario (BIO), University of Guelph, Canada and the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology (ZSM), Munich, Germany. The costs for DNA analysis incurred by the campaign are supported by grants towards the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Project.