Consortium for the Barcode of Life

Barcode of Wildlife Project

Using DNA Barcoding to safeguard endangered species

We provide our partners with technical knowledge, training, goals, guidance, and financial support to create a reference library of DNA barcodes with which to identify crime evidence.

They provide us with their commitment to protect their species and inspiration to solve this global crisis.

Meet the Team

David Schindel

Dr. Schindel was trained as an invertebrate paleontologist and geologist (B.S. in Geology, University of Michigan 1973; Ph.D. in Geological Sciences, Harvard University, 1979). He was a member of Yale University’s Department of Geology & Geophysics and Curator of Invertebrate Fossils in the Yale Peabody Museum from 1978 to 1986.

From 1986-2004 he directed a variety of funding programs in the U.S. National Science Foundation (systematic biology research, natural history museum collection improvement, elementary school science education, interdisciplinary research centers). From 1998 to 2004, Dr. Schindel served as the National Science Foundation’s European representative, based in the US Embassy in Paris. He joined the Smithsonian Institution in 2004 as CBOL's founding director and he is the Principal Investigator of the Global Impact Award from Google Giving that supports the Barcode of Wildlife Project.

Where's David?

Where's David

This week, David is...

Mike Trizna

Technical Lead

Mike has a Masters in Bioinformatics from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Bachelors in Biological Sciences from Virginia Tech. He has developed many customized applications and databases for the informatics pipeline that moves barcode data from field collections to GenBank. Mike works with barcoding labs around the world to help them solve their barcode data management problems.

Niamh Redmond

Project Manager

Niamh was awarded her B.Sc. (Biology) from National University of Ireland (Maynooth, Ireland) in 2003 and her Ph.D. from National University of Ireland (Galway, Ireland) in 2008. Niamh joined the CBOL team in 2012 as Project Manager, and is responsible for numerous barcoding projects at the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC.

Tricia Fulks


Tricia Fulks, a freelance digital journalist based in central Appalachia, holds contracts with the Smithsonian Institution, assisting projects in online presence, outreach and storytelling. Fulks also teaches at West Virginia University's Reed College of Media and most recently served as associate producer for the Emmy-nominated interactive documentary, "Hollow." The award-winning journalist and newspaper editor holds honors from the West Virginia Press Association and the Society of Professional Journalists as well as degrees from American and West Virginia universities.

Kris Jett

Web and Graphic Design

Kristin graduated from UCLA’s Ecology and Evolutionary Biology program with a B.Sc. degree and experience researching morphological trends in vertebrate paleobiology, but it is her love of web and graphic design that brings her to the Barcode of Wildlife project.

"Thanks to Google’s support to the Smithsonian, DNA barcoding is helping to protect endangered species around the world and is providing real benefits to the project’s partner countries."

Dr. Kirk R. Johnson, Director, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC

Project Progress Dashboard

Keep up with progress in our partner countries through this simple project dashboard. Status updates from the ground will be delivered virtually to you and others on the project as phases on the project roadmap are completed.

Now, in BWP...

  • Completion of first set of approximately 450 BARCODE records.
  • Samples from botanical gardens at the National Museums of Kenya (NMK), collection sampling in the field, veterinary examinations of wildlife by the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) and sampling of wildlife populations by both NMK and KWS.
  • Labs, like Mexico, received samples for proficiency testing.
  • Kenya Wildlife Service recently opening a new wildlife forensic lab, which will analyze DNA barcodes from crime scene samples. DNA barcode evidence may soon be use in court cases against suspected wildlife criminals.
  • Completion of first set of more than 500 BARCODE records from endangered and closely related species for GenBank submission.
  • Labs must successfully pass proficiency testing to begin a six-month period of intensive sampling and sample processing to generate reference BARCODE records for public use in the GenBank library. Enforcement Working Group to take crime-scene samples for DNA barcode analysis for first time.
  • Labs in the final steps of Phase 2 of project: proficiency testing, receiving 41 vials of “mystery” tissue samples from plants and animals. Technicians will barcode and identify using the GenBank reference library.
  • Samples from frozen tissue collection at the National Museum of Natural History, captive living plants and animals in botanical gardens and zoos and, to a lesser extent, wild populations.
  • Currently faces difficulty in progression in project milestones.
  • One lab in the country at the University of Lagos (UniLag) has the necessary equipment and experience to generate the DNA barcode data. The National Agency for Biotechnology DEvelopment (NABDA) has some necessary equipment and is eager to obtain more.
  • No large collections of frozen tissue with preserved DNA, although the National Herbarium in Ibadan has dried plant samples that could be useful.
  • BWP provided Nigeria with support for first collecting expeditions in late 2014. Labs now will receive training via web-based videoconferencing in hopes to have BARCODE records submitted to GenBank in coming months.
  • Joined BWP approximately two years after Mexico, Kenya and South Africa, so at an earlier stage on the project roadmap.
  • Teams from several participating organizations will receive training and work at NAST to generate BARCODE records for the reference library.
  • Despite recent earthquake damage, a new molecular biology lab at Nepalese Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) to soon be fully operational.
  • An initial legal workshop has been held, and an Enforcement Working Group has been formed to define legal standards.
  • Currently identifying 200 priority endangered species to focus project on, defining legal standards DNA barcode evidence will have to meet in Nepalese courts and planning for specimen collecting.
  • Nepal’s Ministry of Finance recently endorsed BWP as an initiative supported by government, facilitating collaboration between government agencies that will make it easier to obtain permission to collect tissue samples and specimens.
  • Representative from NAST, the National Museum of Natural History and other participants attended a one-day course on specimen data management, organized by CBOL.
  • Participating labs - National Zoological Garden (NZG) in Pretoria, South African Institute of Aquatic Biology (SAIAB) and University of Johannesburg - under the leadership of South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), have obtained approximately 1,000 tissue samples from hundreds of endangered and closely related species.
  • Samples from frozen tissue collections in the NZG and SAIAB biobanks and captive living plants and animals in botanical gardens and zoos.
  • Collection from wildlife populations began recently, adding valuable samples.

CBOL Current Updates

The team at the Consortium for the Barcode of Life have been in the midst of progressing existing partners through Phase 2 milestones while working to secure new partners, who will start at the beginning of the project roadmap.

  • Mexico and Kenya are working on proficiency testing. CBOL officials have sent the countries both plant and animal tissues for lab personnel to identify.
  • Nepal, despite having experienced a devastating earthquake, has agreed to sign on as an official partner country. CBOL’s executive secretary, David Schindel, and data management support specialist, Michael Trinza, visited Nepal for Informatics Training and Legal Standards and Priority Species Selection workshops.
  • This coming August, Schindel and Trinza will travel to Canada for the International Barcode of Life conference, and in October they will attend a Biodiversity Information Standards meeting in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • In terms of development of the reference library, Mexico, Kenya and South Africa have, together, produced a large number of barcode records ready to be published to GenBank.

Progress Dashboard

See how the Partner Countries are progressing through the project goals

  1. Getting Organized:

    • Kenya
    • Mexico
    • South Africa
    Identifying the organizations and people to lead the national project
  2. Selecting Targets:

    • Kenya
    • Mexico
    • South Africa
    Identifying the 200 priority endangered species in each country
  3. Setting the Rules:

    • Kenya
    • Mexico
    • South Africa
    Clarifying the legal standards that the investigators, prosecutors and magistrates will use for DNA barcode data in court.
    • Getting Ready:

    • Kenya
    • Mexico
    • South Africa
    In-country training on lab procedures and data analysis
  1. Meeting Standards:

    • Kenya
    • Mexico
    • South Africa
    Proficiency testing to demonstrate each lab’s ability to generate high-quality data for the reference library
  2. Construction of the Reference Library:

    • Kenya
    • Mexico
    • South Africa
    [progress measured in voucher specimens collected and registered in the FIMS, and finished BARCODE records submitted to GenBank]
    • Pilot Testing:

    • Kenya
    • Mexico
    • South Africa
    Law enforcement agencies conduct first tests of DNA barcoding on crime scene evidence
    • Day in Court:

    • Kenya
    • Mexico
    • South Africa
    Criminal cases are prepared by investigators and presented by prosecutors using DNA barcode evidence