Centre for Biodiversity Genomics Awarded $4 Million to Catalogue Life in Costa Rica

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Dr. Dan Janzen holds a caterpillar in ACG

The Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) at the University of Guelph, Canada, has received a new, $4-million award to help catalogue and conserve one million insect specimens in Costa Rica. The Walder Foundation, based in Chicago, has awarded $1 million for this ambitious project, and the government of Costa Rica and the Guanacaste Dry Forest Conservation Fund (GDFCF) will match the grant. “These awards will allow a magnificent advance in our understanding of Costa Rican biodiversity,” said Professor Paul Hebert, the CBG director. “We are embarking on a great voyage of species discovery.” The funding will help Costa Rican researchers add data for about 200,000 species - many of which may be new to science - to a growing DNA barcode library being developed by the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) consortium hosted at the University of Guelph. While most of the barcoding studies in Costa Rica to date have focused on Área de Conservación Guanacaste, the new funding will allow the analysis to extend to organisms in 10 more national parks in the country. These results, added Hebert, will represent a major contribution to BIOSCAN, which is an effort to barcode 10 million specimens worldwide by 2026, and will also help underpin Costa Rica's BioAlfa project. Hebert added that the goal of “making humanity ‘bio-literate’ is ever more critical as we continue to encroach on natural habitats. People are not thinking about what we’re doing to life on the planet." The full article is here.

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