- Sampling biodiversity in a park, garden, office, or school.
- Checking for invasive plant or animal species.
- Monitoring disease vectors.
- Identifying exotic or endangered food products in markets.
- Detecting food mislabeling.
Who can enter the competition?
The competition is open to high school students in the New York Metropolitan area who are enrolled in grades 9–12. Teams of 2–4 students must be sponsored by a qualifying science teacher (see below on how to qualify) or mentor. A mentor can be an undergraduate or graduate student, Ph.D. researcher, or any person with a working knowledge of DNA barcoding and/or ecology who is willing to spend sufficient time with a high school student team to bring a project to completion. Team members do not have to be from the same school.
How do I enter and what is the project timeline?
- Form a team of 2-4 NYC high school students and a qualifying science teacher or mentor.
- Develop a project proposal. (See guidelines and example in the "Project Guidelines" section of this website)
- Go to www.urbanbarcodeproject.org and submit your proposal online by the deadline.
- Proposals will be judged for originality, creativity, relevance, plausibility, and scientific merit. The top teams will be invited to compete in the Urban Barcode Project.
- Invited competitors must complete their projects by Spring 2014 and present their work at a project symposium.
What will the proposal entail?
The formatted project proposal should include:
- Introduction and literature review, with references about similar types of research.
- Relevance to NYC or national issues.
- Goals and expected outcomes.
- Methods, including how samples will be collected and processed to produce DNA barcodes.
- Brief biographies of each team member.
What happens if my team's proposal is selected?
Each successful team will have free access to everything needed for their DNA barcode experiments, including equipment, protocols, and reagents for DNA extraction, PCR, and DNA sequencing. Teams may attend Open Lab days at designated locations where they can get additional training and access equipment to complete portions of their experiments. Loaner equipment will be available for use by individual schools, or groups of nearby schools to share.
For Teachers and Mentors
How can a science teacher get training to qualify to sponsor a team?
Science teachers who wish to a sponsor a team must participate in a training workshop provided by the DNA Learning Center. Student project proposals will only be accepted if a sponsoring teacher has received official training. Training is not required for mentors with previous experience in DNA barcoding. A calendar of DNA barcoding workshops will be posted in early fall.
How many teams can a teacher sponsor?
A teacher or mentor can work with one or two student teams.