The Collections Unit is primarily responsible for sourcing, digitizing, processing, and archiving samples at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics. This includes field collection, sample preparation, and long term storage of all specimens destined for barcode analysis in the Genomics Unit (Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding). Field work is carried out each year to acquire new samples using a variety of trapping methods specific to the ongoing projects. The 1M+ specimens collected each year, as well as material sourced from museums and collaborators, are prepared for barcode analysis through databasing, sorting, and tissue sampling. The Collections Unit prepared 733K specimens for DNA barcoding in 2018, and nearly 3.8M in the last five years.
Following sample preparation, each specimen is permanently vouchered in our natural history archive (BIOUG). This globally unique collection of 4.5M digitized animal specimens uses an internal collections information management system and the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) to associate each record with its sequence data, collection information, and images, facilitating rapid access to both the specimen and its information. This ease of accessibility allows the Collections Unit to frequently provide loans to researchers around the world (more than 1400 separate loans for taxonomic identification), but it is also advantageous to researchers who wish to visit and work in the dedicated workspace of the collection.
In addition to these primary roles, the Collections Unit also manages or collaborates on several large research projects at CBG, including the Global Malaise Trap Program, the Food From Thought Project and BIOSCAN. Furthermore, the Collections Unit offers biomonitoring, digitization and training services – requests can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org