BIOSCAN Strategic Plan: Coverage

BIOSCAN Strategic Plan: Coverage

One of the strategic goals identified for BIOSCAN is to sample species from all ecosystems.

Please use this topic to discuss the Coverage goal and how iBOL can implement the strategies identified below.


Develop and deploy efficient and reproducible approaches for DNA-based sampling and monitoring of all eukaryotic groups in all ecosystems.

The Global Malaise Program (GMP) has demonstrated the potential associated with a simple and replicable protocol for field collection of a broad class of organisms. The GMP will continue its activities and will be a core sub-program within BIOSCAN, focused on weekly collection and processing of Malaise samples from terrestrial ecosystems all over the world.

Significant effort has also been applied to use of barcoding and metabarcoding approaches to study biodiversity in other systems, especially in soils and in marine and freshwater environments. BIOSCAN requires development and operationalisation of protocols for sampling all components of biodiversity to offer the broadest perspective possible on local community composition.

In developing and adopting sampling protocols, and even in regard to Malaise trapping, BIOSCAN will benefit from close collaboration with ecologists, statisticians, and modelers to ensure good experimental design and to maximise the information value of each sample. The seven years of BIOSCAN offer the opportunity to explore the benefits arising from the capture of different sets of associated measurements and observations simultaneously with collecting organisms for barcoding or metabarcoding and to define best-practice models for use in the PBM. It is likely that some stakeholders and affiliated activities will be unable or prevented from following a more rigorous protocol, so there must be clear processes to document relevant aspects both of field collection and subsequent processing.

The historical materials held in natural history collections remain a foundational resource for biodiversity research. Many species held in collections are rarely or never detected through contemporary field research. Type specimens are particularly important as they anchor the definition for scientific names. BIOSCAN will continue to work with natural history collections to promote and support efforts to improve handling of ancient DNA and to sequence historical materials.

  1. Coordinate efforts internationally to contribute to populating the barcode reference library with missing species and with representatives from unsampled regions: Develop networks of collaborators that together contribute materials, DNA and sequences sampling all taxonomic groups and all ecosystems.
  2. Expand efforts to sequence historical materials from natural history collections, particularly type specimens: Develop and promote efforts that deliver high-quality sequences that anchor barcodes and BINs in the context of taxonomic understanding of species boundaries and of existing species names.
  3. Engage ecologists, statisticians, and modelers to ensure that BIOSCAN sampling protocols as far as possible reflect best practice for field survey and monitoring programs: Develop guidance and protocols that encapsulate good experimental design and maximises information secured from field sampling activities. Discuss
  4. Expand the Global Malaise Program to all regions and terrestrial ecosystems: Use malaise trapping as a model approach for standardising methods and pipelines and for engaging international stakeholders.
  5. Develop and promote standard protocols and programs for surveying and monitoring soil communities: Work with soil ecologists and existing soil metagenomics activities to standardise sampling and identification of soil biota.
  6. Develop and promote standard protocols and programs for surveying and monitoring marine communities: Work with marine researchers to standardise sampling and identification of biota from marine habitats. Discuss
  7. Develop and promote standard protocols and programs for surveying and monitoring freshwater communities: Work with freshwater ecologists to standardise sampling and identification of biota from freshwater habitats.
  8. Develop and promote standard protocols and programs for surveying and monitoring other terrestrial communities and ecosystems: Work with other research communities to develop and promote standard approaches to sample and identify terrestrial biota using approaches that supplement coverage from malaise trapping and soil samples.