iBOL Members

Science Committee

Argentina

Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales

Pablo L. Tubaro is a Principal Researcher at the National Research Council of Argentina (CONICET), as well as Curator of Birds and Director of the National Museum of Natural Sciences (MACN) in Argentina. Since 2004 he has been involved in DNA barcoding and served as a member of the iBOL Consortium’s Science Committee, and Chair of the Steering Committee of the All Birds Barcoding Initiative. He has taught behavioral ecology, systematics and evolution of vertebrates at the University of Buenos Aires for more than 25 years. His main research interest deals with the evolutionary biology of birds including systematics and phylogeography of Neotropical birds, hybridization and speciation, and comparative studies concerning the evolution of morphological and behavioral traits.

Armenia

Yerevan State University

Marine Arakelyan is a Professor of Biology at Yerevan State University, Armenia. She is a Head of the Department of Zoology, Faculty of Biology, Yerevan State University. Marine coordinates the part of the “Caucasus Barcode of Life” project on DNA barcoding of animal species, creation of a reference database and collections in Yerevan State University. Her research focuses on the study of reticulate evolution in reptiles, in particular, ecological, cytogenetic and genetic investigations of parthenogenetic lizards and related species of rock lizards. She is the author of the book “Herpetofauna of Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh”. She is also involved in the promotion and development of the study of various aspects of study and conservation of invertebrates and vertebrates in Armenia.

Armenia

Scientific Center of Zoology and Hydroecology National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia

Bardukh Gabrielyan is the head of the Ichthyology department and the director of the Scientific Center of Zoology and Hydroecology of the National Academy of Sciences of the Republic of Armenia. He leads the science for ichthyological and hydroecological research, substantially contributing to protecting and conserving Armenia’s terrestrial and aquatic biodiversity. During more than 40 years of dedicated work, Gabrielyan has been hugely contributing to preserving Lake Sevan’s ecosystem services, which has undergone severe anthropogenic impact that resulted in the depletion of fish resources and deterioration of water quality and loss of biodiversity. He is the author of the book “Fishes of Lake Sevan” which includes an overview of the 70 years of work of the institution on the state of the fish populations in Lake Sevan, and a co-author of two books on the ecological condition of the lake during the periods of water level fluctuations and rise, both issued as a result of Russian-Armenian biological expeditions. As a director, Gabrielyan launched and supported the creation of several new directions in the Center, such as applied hydroecology, fish stock assessment, and molecular parasitology. He is leading the CaBOL project in the Center.

Australia

South Australian Museum

Mark Stevens completed his B.Sc. (Honours) on native bees at Flinders University in 1997. He received a doctoral scholarship from the University of Waikato in New Zealand, where he completed his Ph.D. on amphipods and Antarctic springtails in 2003. He then moved to Massey University (The Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution) as a postdoctoral researcher working with Prof. David Penny, which allowed Mark to continue his Antarctic research. He received a four-year postdoctoral fellowship from the New Zealand Foundation for Research Science and Technology in 2004. In 2008 Mark joined the Museum as Research Scientist in the Terrestrial Invertebrates Section. Mark holds an Associate Professor (Affiliate) position at the University of South Australia. Mark’s research interests include invertebrates, focusing on Collembola, nematodes, tardigrades, rotifers, and Hymenoptera. A key aspect of his current work is an integrated molecular, systematic, and palaeoecological/phylogeographic diversification to be traced from origins to the present and contrasted against climate/biome shifts (e.g., aridification).

Austria

Natural History Museum Vienna

Nikolaus Szucsich coordinates the Austrian Barcode of Life initiative. His research topics span many aspects of organismic zoology, from integrative systematics and DNA barcoding of arthropods, phylogenetics and phylogenomics, evolutionary and functional morphology of arthropods, and theoretical aspects of evolutionary biology. His primary groups of interest are myriapods and primarily wingless insects, with a special love for neglected groups like jumping bristletails, proturans, pauropods, and symphylans. He has worked at the Universities of Vienna Rostock, Hamburg and Salzburg and is currently associated with the Natural History Museum of Vienna.

Belarus

Scientific & Practical Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for Bioresources

Tatsiana Lipinskaya is a lead research scientist of the Laboratory of Hydrobiology at the Scientific and Practical Center of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus for Bioresources in Minsk, Belarus. She received her M.S. degrees in Biological Sciences (Graduate School of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus; 2009) and in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (Ghent University, Belgium; 2014) and her Ph.D. in Hydrobiology (Scientific and Practical Center for Bioresources; 2015). Her primary focus of research is ecological and taxonomic studies on freshwater zoobenthos. Lipinskaya completed the Global Taxonomy Initiative Training Course on Rapid Identification of Invasive Alien Species for Achieving Aichi Biodiversity Target 9 at the Biodiversity Institute of Ontario at the University of Guelph in 2015. In 2018, she received a grant from the Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Japan Biodiversity Fund to organize the Global Taxonomy Initiative training course hosted in Minsk, Belarus. She has been the Belarusian representative in the European Cost Action DNAqua-Net since March 2018. Tatsiana’s main DNA barcoding interests concern freshwater ecosystems, mainly aquatic alien invertebrates and the EPT (Ephemeroptera Plecoptera Tricoptera) group.

Brazil

Instituto Tecnológico Vale

Guilherme Oliveira is a senior researcher and leader of the Environmental Genomics group at the Instituto Tecnológico Vale. His group is focused on describing the Amazon environment from a molecular perspective, using DNA barcodes, genomics, metagenomics, metaproteomics, and computational biology. This work contributes to the molecular description and resolution of species, understanding their natural history, adaptive traits, and environmental monitoring, among others. The taxonomic space explored ranges from microbes to plants, invertebrates, fish, and bats. The aim is to contribute to species conservation while enabling responsible industrial activities and supporting the environmental restoration. He is also involved with the Brazilian Barcode of Life initiative (BrBOL).

Bulgaria

Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Georgi Bonchev is Senior Assistant Professor and Head of the Department of Genome Dynamics and Stability at the Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics (IPPG) at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. Bonchev’s primary research focuses on developing DNA markers, mainly based on transposable elements, for genome identification and assessment of natural and mutant genetic diversity in plants. This work contributes to tackling scientific issues such as plant genome response to abiotic stress and a better understanding of genetic mechanisms underlying evolutionary processes. Bonchev’s group also provides genotyping and characterization of varieties, hybrid lines, and other plant germplasm resources supporting breeding research.
Recently, Bonchev’s interests have focused on DNA barcoding wishing to promote the large-scale introduction of this technology in Bulgaria. He currently leads the largest national DNA barcoding project, BULCode, supported by the Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria under the operational program European Scientific Networks. The primary goal of the project initiative is to enhance the knowledge and networking capacity of IPPG and its Bulgarian partner Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research (IBER), in DNA barcoding technologies and their use for taxonomic assessment of Bulgarian plant biodiversity and its cataloging. A strategic partnership with the University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Sciences, is the key to achieving the goal. The follow-up project’s impact is to pave the way for developing the DNA barcoding community in Bulgaria.

Canada

Centre for Biodiversity Genomics, University of Guelph

Dr. Hajibabaei has strong expertise in molecular evolutionary biology and bioinformatics. His research is focused on the use of genomics information for biodiversity analysis, ranging from the elucidation of deep branches on the tree of life to the establishment and application of DNA barcodes. He has been one of the pioneers in the use of high-throughput genomics technologies, such as microarrays and Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), for the assessment of biodiversity in samples as varied as natural health products to bulk environmental samples. He currently leads ‘Sequencing the Rivers for Environmental Assessment and Monitoring’ (STREAM), a new environmental DNA metabarcoding project supported by Genome Canada, World Wildlife Fund Canada (WWF), and Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC). This project will monitor and assess the health of Canada’s freshwater systems with enhanced diagnostic resolution and speed.

Dr. Hajibabaei has aided the establishment of both the Canadian Barcode of Life Network and the International Barcode of Life Consortium. Additionally, he has raised over $9 million in research funds from various agencies and the industrial sector. He has served on advisory and review panels for international organizations and funding agencies, and has collaborated with various regulatory agencies and industries.

China

Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences

Chenxi Liu is an Associate Professor at the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS) in Beijing, China. He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Entomology from China Agricultural University (CAU). In 2007, Dr. Liu earned his Ph.D. in Agricultural Entomology from CAU and then worked as a postdoctoral researcher until 2011 at the Institute of Plant Protection of CAAS, specializing in insect resistance to the Bacillus thuringiensis toxin. He joined the Sino-American Biological Control Laboratory, IPP-CAAS and started to serve as an associate professor in 2012. Dr. Liu’s current research interests include the development of biological control agents for insect pest management, nutrigenomics of beneficial insects, and biodiversity of insect pests and their natural enemies.

Colombia

Alexander von Humboldt Institute

Mailyn González leads the Conservation Genetics Laboratory at the Institute Alexander von Humboldt in Colombia. She has been coordinating the iBOL Colombia network activities since 2010, especially organizing national symposia and training. She has participated in projects to enrich the DNA barcode libraries for plants, vertebrates, fungi, and insects. She is currently conducting DNA metabarcoding projects of soils in strategic ecosystems. Her background is in plant community ecology, and she is interested in phylogenetic diversity and the use of genetic information for biodiversity management.

Costa Rica

Comisión Nacional para la Gestión de la Biodiversidad

José Alfredo Hernández is a Genetic Access Regulator Officer in Costa Rica’s National Commission for Biodiversity Development (CONAGEBIO). He received his B.S. and M.S. degrees in Genetic and Molecular Biology from the Universidad de Costa Rica. His post-graduation research was on the phylogenetic relationships of pejibaye palm (Peach Palm, Bactris gasipaes) with its wild relatives. Then, for three years, he worked in biotechnology of Plant Tissue Culture in vitro, mainly with orchids and other ornamentals. Since 2006, he has been part of CONAGEBIO as a Genetic Access Regulator, an advisor in conservation topics, and a member of the Biosecurity Technical Commission. Simultaneously, he heads the delegation for Costa Rica-GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility). His primary interest is facilitating access to information about Costa Rican biodiversity for its use in education, conservation, public policies, the private sector, and research.

Ecuador

Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad

Diego J. Inclán obtained his master’s in Biological Sciences at Wright State University in the U.S. and a Ph.D. in Plant Protection-Entomology at the Universitá degli Studi di Padova in Italy. He is involved in collaborative work with national and international institutions. His main research interests are entomology, systematics, ecology, and biodiversity, focusing on Tachinidae parasitoids and landscape ecology. He is the Executive Director of the National Institute of Biodiversity (INABIO), a Professor at the Central University of Ecuador, and President of the Entomological Society of Ecuador.

Egypt

Suez Canal University

Dr. Samy Zalat is a Professor of Taxonomy and Ecology at the Suez Canal University, Ismailia, Egypt and the Chairman of the Nature and Science Foundation, Cairo, Egypt. He was the first biologist to work in South Sinai after Egypt regained it from Israel in 1982, and he has worked there ever since. He completed his M.Sc. surveying bees and wasps visiting wild plants in 1984. He received a doctoral scholarship funded by the Egyptian government and, in 1989, completed his Ph.D. at Nottingham University on the taxonomy and biochemistry of the potter wasps (subfamily: Eumeninae) of Egypt. He continued his research in the Sinai Peninsula, and in 2002 he was awarded the Egyptian National Prize in Biology. He has participated in work that has supported the declaration of St. Katherine as a National Park in Egypt and has led the project to map the biodiversity of Egypt from 2004-2008 (BioMAP-Egypt).
Zalat’s research interests include studying the biodiversity of the Sinai Peninsula and examining the effect of isolation and speciation in different taxa of the wadi (valley) systems in the high mountains of St. Katherine. Along with his collaborators, he is studying other taxa in Sinai, including wild flora, bees, wasps, butterflies, small mammal (Acomys dimidiatus) and their parasites. Recently, his interests have focused on the human dimension of conservation. He has established an NGO named Nature and Science Foundation to work with local people and publicize biodiversity to different audiences in Egypt and worldwide.

Finland

University of Oulu

Marko Mutanen is the Senior Curator and molecular systematist at the University of Oulu, Finland. He has coordinated the Finnish DNA barcoding initiative since its start in 2011. He is the Principal Investigator of the Insect Genomics Systematics group and presently leads the research project “Advancing the genomic revolution of species delimitation,” funded by the Academy of Finland. His research relies on the solid conviction that the taxonomic impediment, our current inability to manage the vast biodiversity of Earth by traditional means, should and could be resolved by genomic means. He proposes to shift taxonomy from morphology-driven practices to genomic approaches. He is particularly interested in developing better ways to delimit species under various evolutionary settings. His primary model research group is Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths), but he is also increasingly focusing on sawflies (Symphyta).

France

Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle

Rodolphe Rougerie is a researcher and curator of Lepidoptera collections at the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in Paris. Since 2016, he has been the scientific coordinator of the Service for Molecular Systematics, a molecular biology platform within the Museum. He focuses on documenting and understanding the outstanding diversity of terrestrial invertebrates on Earth. Although not exclusively, his main focus is on Lepidoptera, particularly in the systematics and evolutionary history of two emblematic families: Saturniidae (Wild Silkmoths) and Sphingidae (Hawkmoths). While a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Centre for Biodiversity Genomics at the University of Guelph, Rodolphe led global DNA barcoding campaigns for Saturniidae and Sphingidae, whose DNA barcode libraries are now nearly comprehensive (ca. 5000 species and subspecies). This work served as the cornerstone for developing two nationally funded projects investigating these moths’ macroecology and evolutionary dynamics. His DNA barcoding activities extend to other taxa (e.g. Coleoptera, Oligochaeta) through multiple national and international collaborations, addressing ecological questions in temperate and tropical regions.

Georgia

Ilia State University

David Tarkhnishvili is the Director of the Institute of Ecology at Ilia State University, Tbilisi, Georgia’s leading scientific institution for biodiversity, ecology, and evolutionary biology. He is also a dean of the School of Natural Science and Medicine. He got his university education from Tbilisi State University in Georgia, his Ph.D. from the Institute of Ecology in Ekaterinburg, Russia, and conducted postdoctoral studies in Britain and Germany. His research interests and scientific publications include population and evolutionary biology (mainly that of amphibians and reptiles, but also other organisms, including trouts, land snails, wolves, mice, and humans), speciation, and historical biogeography, especially that of the Caucasus ecoregion and west Asia. Current research projects focus on the evolutionary biology of Caucasian rock lizards. He is a co-leader of the German-Georgian-Armenian project CaBOL (Caucasus Barcoding of Life Project).

Germany

Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig

Jonas Astrin is the Biobank curator at Zoological Research Museum Alexander Koenig in Bonn. The facility stores animal and environmental DNA, fixed tissue, and viable cells and conducts methodological work. Astrin is actively involved in biodiversity biobanking networks. He is a founding member of the German Barcode of Life (GBOL) and Caucasus Barcode of Life (CaBOL), established in 2020 to focus primarily on Georgian and Armenian biodiversity. Jonas’s molecular taxonomic work initially concentrated mainly on spiders and weevils. He recently launched the Forensic Genetics for Species Protection project, also known as FOGS, which develops molecular markers to reduce illegal wildlife trade.

Germany

Bavarian State Collection of Zoology

Axel Hausmann leads the Entomology Department at the Bavarian State Collection of Zoology, Munich, and is the Curator of the Lepidoptera collection. He is scientifically overseeing the Museum’s DNA barcoding projects, aiming to assemble comprehensive DNA libraries and develop metabarcoding applications. His research focus is on the integrative taxonomy of geometrid moths and he leads the international research initiative Forum Herbulot’. In the last 13 years, he has contributed majorly to the DNA campaigns on Geometridae worldwide (with some 23,000 species and 170,000 sequences) and the fauna of Bavaria and Germany (with some 24,000 species and 190,000 sequences).

Greece

Institute of Applied Bioscience – CERTH, University of Thessaly

Panagiotis Madesis studied at the Faculty of Agriculture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (AUTH) and his Ph.D. studies on biotechnology at AUTH. In the last year of his doctoral thesis, he moved to the University of Manchester as a Marie Curie fellow in the Laboratory of Plant Science, emphasizing the genetic manipulation of the chloroplast genome. During this period, he worked on several research programs. In 2004, he was given a postdoctoral position in the Laboratory of Plant sciences in the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester. From 2008 until 2020, he was a researcher at the Institute of Applied Biosciences (INAB) of the National Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (CERTH). From 2020 he has been appointed as an Ass. Professor of Molecular Biology at the University of Thessaly and a collaborative professor at INAB/CERTH. His scientific interests focus, among others, on plant genotyping and biodiversity assessment through plant species identification; these studies have allowed him to develop a novel methodology for plant species identification and the traceability and detection of possible fraud in commercial products. For this activity, in 2013, he was awarded a distinction by the Ministry of Rural Development and the President of the Hellenic Republic. He is actively involved in Greek biodiversity identification and biodiversity protection.

Hong Kong

The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Jerome is currently an associate professor at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Director of the Molecular Biology program. He is also a member of the Cell and Molecular Biology, Environmental Science, and Molecular Biotechnology programmes in the School of Life Sciences. Jerome received his Ph.D. from the University of Oxford and postdoctoral training from the University of Manchester and the University of Oxford. As an evolutionary biologist and zoologist, he is keenly interested in studying arthropods, cnidarians, invertebrates, and cross-kingdom interactions. He is also interested in biotechnology, genomics, molecular ecology, and biodiversity conservation.

India

Zoological Survey of India

Vikas Kumar is an eminent molecular taxonomist from India with a broad interest in studying the molecular phylogeny of various faunal groups and exploring faunal diversity with cutting-edge tools. His core interest lies with the insect order Thysanoptera for an evolutionary understanding of their great diversity across India. He applies high-depth sequencing technology to unveil the phylogenetic working at all hierarchical levels, from populations to basal relationships of various animal taxa ranging from DNA barcoding to comparative mitogenomics. In recent years, he has focused on metagenomics approaches and multiple platforms for studying entire complex communities in environmental samples to analyze species richness and phylogeny. With an interdisciplinary approach, Vikas is eager to learn environmental DNA (eDNA) to characterize complex communities in soil and water and gut contents of insects using shotgun sequencing to explore ecological assemblages.

India

Paul Hebert Centre for DNA Barcoding and Biodiversity Studies

Dr. Khedkar is a molecular evolutionary biologist and zoologist with a profound focus on leveraging genomics information for biodiversity analysis. His research spans from unravelling the deepest branches on the tree of life to pioneering the establishment and application of DNA barcodes, with a specific emphasis on aquatic life.

In 2009, Dr. Khedkar founded the Paul Hebert Centre for DNA Barcoding and Biodiversity Studies, a pioneering initiative that engaged Indian researchers in the International Barcode of Life consortium. He has secured over $5 million in research support from diverse sources, including funding agencies and the industrial sector. Collaborating with Indian researchers, he is actively constructing a DNA barcode reference library spanning various taxonomic groups. To date, the Centre has initiated 32 projects and made substantial contributions to comprehensive reference DNA barcode libraries.

On August 27, 2023, the extended campus of the Paul Hebert Centre for DNA Barcoding and Biodiversity Studies was inaugurated. This 52,000 ft2 facility encompasses DNA sequencing laboratories, specimen repositories, a high-performance computing center, and spacious laboratories. With these new facilities, Dr. Khedkar has ambitious plans to launch the Planetary Biodiversity Mission-India (PBM-I), an endeavor aimed at mapping the entire biodiversity of India in collaboration with 120 universities and various research institutes.

Dr. Khedkar’s expertise extends to advisory and review roles for funding agencies, as well as collaborations with regulatory bodies and industries.

Italy

Università di Firenze

Leonardo Dapporto leads the Numerical and Experimental Zoology laboratory in the Department of Biology at the Università di Firenze in Italy. Leonardo has led comprehensive DNA barcoding initiatives, studying the evolution of butterfly biodiversity through time and space, including creating a complete library for Western European butterflies. Leonardo established the first phylogenetic tree for all European species and an extensive dataset of traits. He also maintains and is an author of the recluster R package, a statistical tool for the spatial analysis of biodiversity patterns. By combining large amounts of DNA barcoding data with species traits and phylogeny, he has revealed unexpected layers of insular diversity, the relationships between genetic differentiation and functional traits, the first intraspecific zoogeographic maps for Europe, and a generalization for the “southern richness and northern purity” paradigm. Leonardo has combined DNA barcoding, nuclear markers, geometric morphometrics, and gas chromatography/Mass spectrometry with integrative taxonomy in his research. Where discoveries are infrequent with European butterflies, Leonardo’s approach has revealed several cryptic European butterfly species, including Spialia rosae, Muschampia alta, and Zerynthia cassandra. He has also clarified many other groups’ distribution and phylogeography, including Polyommatus, Leptidea, Spialia, Melanargia, Lasiommata, and others.

Kuwait

Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research

Dr. Abdullah Alzaid is an Associate Research Scientist at Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR; Kuwait). Dr. Alzaid earned a Master of Science Degree from Memorial University (Canada) and a Doctor of Philosophy Degree from University of Aberdeen (Scotland, UK). Dr. Alzaid’s research focuses on the influence of Whole Genome Duplications on the physiology and immunology of teleost, with the aim of understanding the effects of environmental stressors, growth-enhancing transgenesis, and aquaculture on genome evolution and biodiversity of teleost fishes.

Principal challenges of interest include the development of genomic resources to provide new model fish species. Thus, current research aims focus on exploiting computational and laboratory tools to accurately assemble and differentiate the sequences of highly similar duplicated genes linked to growth and immune functions in teleost, as well as resolving their homology relationships across species and post-duplication functional divergence.

Lebanon

Universite Saint-Joseph

Magda Bou Dagher Kharrat is a Professor of Plant Genetics and the Director of the Department of Life and Earth Science at the Saint-Joseph University (USJ) of Beirut, Lebanon. She is also the co-founder and vice-president of “Jouzour Loubnan“, an NGO aiming to restore and rehabilitate the most degraded landscapes in Lebanon. Her research employs genomic tools to examine biodiversity in Eastern Mediterranean countries and to investigate plant and animal species phylogeny, phylogeography, and their historical evolutionary processes. Magda’s DNA barcoding interest lies in endemic plants and native animals, and her recent interest concentrates on metabarcoding, deciphering the role of animal wildlife in ecological restoration processes. The results of her research have allowed her to develop conservation policies and forest ecosystem restoration strategies that optimize the survival of tree populations in the face of climate change.

Mexico

El Colegio de la Frontera Sur

A biologist from the Facultad de Estudios Superiores Iztacala (National Autonomous University of Mexico, UNAM), graduate studies in the Escuela Nacional de Ciencias Biológicas from the National Polytechnic Institute (IPN), Mexico (Doctor in Sciences). Specialty in Lake Zooplankton in Ghent University, Belgium. For 18 years Elias-Gutierrez was an academic in the Faculty Iztacala (UNAM), where he became a Professor in Zoology. Here he was awarded the Academic Merit distinction in 1996. Later he received the best research article and academic career in the state (Council of Science, Quintana Roo, 2011). Currently, he is a senior researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Chetumal unit. His primary research focus is ecological and taxonomic studies on freshwater zooplankton using integrative taxonomy, in particular from the waterbodies from the Yucatan Peninsula.

Aotearoa New Zealand

Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research

Manpreet completed her PhD at the University of Auckland in 2013 on insect-microbe symbiosis, sparking a life-long passion for species interactions. As a research scientist at the Ministry for Primary industries between 2012 – 2014, she developed barcode-derived surveillance tools for invasive species. Followed by a postdoc at Stanford University (2014-2017), where she focused on the genetic underpinnings of species interactions such as priority effects in competition using nectar microbes as the study system. In 2017, she returned to Aotearoa New Zealand to work at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research in Lincoln, where she is currently a Senior Scientist and Capability Leader in the Biocontrol & Molecular Ecology Team. She’s also a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland.

Her current research spans a range of topics and systems including microbial mediation of pollinator behavior, microbe-microbe interactions, kiwi microbiome, nectar microbiome, soil microbiomes and she continues research on developing biosecurity surveillance technologies. Her research supports the science needs of iwi Māori (indigenous leaders and communities of Aotearoa), government regulatory bodies (Department of Conservation, Ministry for Primary Industries, MBIE) and local & regional councils. She is currently co-leading the development of an investment case for a national barcode reference library in Aotearoa New Zealand that is guided by the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi (te tiriti).

Norway

Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU University Museum

Torbjørn Ekrem is a professor of biosystematics and the Curator of Diptera, Hymenoptera, Arachnida and a few minor insect orders at the NTNU University Museum. His research interest includes evolution, systematics and biogeography, particularly of non-biting midges of the family Chironomidae (Diptera). His research focuses on taxonomy, biology, phylogeny, zoogeography and molecular systematics of genera and species of the tribe Tanytarsini. Still, he is also involved in work with other groups of animals and plants. In the last few years, he has been heavily involved in various projects testing and using DNA barcoding in biosystematics and freshwater biomonitoring. He is actively engaged in the EU COST-Action DNAqua-Net. He chairs the Norwegian Barcode of Life Network and project (NorBOL) to develop this initiative into a national infrastructure on DNA Barcoding.

Pakistan

Balochistan University of Information Technology, Engineering & Management Sciences

Professor Nazeer Ahmed is the Dean for Graduate Studies at Balochistan University of I.T., Engineering and Management Sciences in Quetta, Pakistan. He attained his doctoral degree from Wuerzburg University, Germany. His Ph.D. research explored the early signalling events involved in plant-microbe interactions, particularly plant interactions with mutualistic bacteria. These mutualistic bacteria are well known for their positive effects on plant growth through different mechanisms, particularly phytohormones production and nitrogen fixation. Currently, his main focus is developing DNA-based biodiversity inventories of the diverse ecosystem in Balochistan, the largest province of Pakistan. He also participates in the Global Malaise Project.

 

Peru

Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos

Rina Ramirez is a Professor at Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos in the Faculty of Biological Sciences and a member of its Museum of Natural History. She teaches courses in ‘Animal diversity’, ‘Bioinformatics’ and ‘Molecular Systematics’. Her main research interests are in molecular systematics and phylogeography of continental mollusks. She was part of the Peruvian Committee for the CATRTA Project, “DNA barcoding to support the conservation of biodiversity, its sustainable use, and trade”.

Philippines

University of Philippines Diliman

Ian Kendrich Fontanilla is the Director and Associate Professor of the Institute of Biology (I.B.), College of Science, University of the Philippines (UP), Diliman. He is also the Principal Investigator of the DNA Barcoding Laboratory at I.B. and the Program Director for Biodiversity at the Philippine Genome Center, University of the Philippines. He obtained his B.Sc. Biology and M.Sc. Biology (Genetics) at UP Diliman and Ph.D. in Genetics at the University of Nottingham, United Kingdom. Ian’s primary research interest is molecular phylogenetics, emphasizing the evolutionary history of Philippine endemic species. His team at I.B. is involved in various collaborative work with the Biodiversity Management Bureau of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources to populate the Philippine reference database for DNA barcodes of Philippine native and endemic species for potential use in wildlife forensics.

Poland

University of Lodz

Michal Grabowski is an evolutionary biologist and zoologist at the Faculty of Biology & Environmental Protection at the University of Lodz, Poland. He is interested in biodiversity patterns, evolutionary processes, and biological invasions in European inland waters and coastal ecosystems. Grabowski focuses on historical factors shaping the present, particularly cryptic, diversity of various model organisms, predominantly malacostracan crustaceans. For about a decade, he has led several research projects dealing with drivers of aquatic diversity in endemism hotspots, such as the Mediterranean Region, the Carpathian Arch, and ancient European lakes. Michal is also an expert in the integrative taxonomy of freshwater amphipods.

Consequently, his main DNA barcoding interests concern freshwater ecosystems and the use of novel methods in biomonitoring. He is a management committee member actively engaged in the functioning of the EU COST-Action DNAqua-Net. In cooperation with various international collaborators, he is building a DNA-barcode reference library for European malacostracan crustaceans.

Portugal

University of Minho

Filipe Costa is Associate Professor at the University of Minho, Portugal, where he leads the Molecular Ecology, Biodiversity and DNA barcoding (ME-Barcode) research group of the Centre for Molecular and Environmental Biology (CBMA), and the Aquatic Research Network (ARNET). Filipe was a postdoc fellow at the University of Guelph (Canada, 2003), Marie Curie Fellow at Bangor University (UK, 2006-2007), chaired the 2nd Conference of the European Consortium for the Barcode of Life and has been serving as Portugal delegate in iBOL. He was one of the Portuguese representatives in the Cost Action DNAqua-Net (2016-2021), and integrates the consortium of the Horizon Europe project eDNAqua-plan (2023-2026). Filipe’s barcoding research has been focusing on marine life, with diverse contributions, from proof-of-concept studies, primer design for marine metazoan, building reference libraries for marine fish and invertebrates and (e)DNA metabarcoding, particularly in estuarine and marine ecosystems, targeting macro and meiobenthos, and zooplanktonic communities. He has also been applying to (e)DNA metabarcoding to monitor marine non-indigenous species (NIS) and coordinates the UN Ocean Decade Action “DNA-based approaches for fisheries monitoring”, involving the governmental fisheries agencies from Portugal, Cabo Verde, Guinea-Bissau and academia from Brazil. Filipe has also been interested in auditing and annotation of reference libraries of DNA barcodes, and his team developed the Barcode, Audit and Grade System (BAGS), an R-based application for automated auditing of reference libraries of DNA barcodes.

Romania

National Institute of Research and Development for Biological Sciences

Cristin Ichim is a Scientific Researcher at the Stejarul Research Centre for Biological Sciences, a Romanian National Institute of Research and Development for Biological Sciences (NIRDBS) branch. He is the leader of the Molecular Biology and Ecology Group and coordinator of the DNA barcoding laboratory. He has completed a B.Sc. (Biochemistry), M.Sc. (Molecular Genetics), M.Sc. (Biosafety in Plant Biotechnology), and a Ph.D. (Genetics).

Deriving from his primary research interest – plant biosafety – he has a keen interest in the monitoring, assessment, and DNA barcoding of Romanian flora and fauna to better understand the anthropogenic drivers influencing biodiversity loss, focusing on protected areas and vulnerable environments.

Slovakia

Slovak National Museum – Nature History Museum 

Ivona Kautmanova is the Curator of the mycological collections and the head of the Botanical Department at the Slovak National Museum-Natural History Museum. Her research interest includes taxonomy and systematics as well as ecology and conservation of macromycetes. Her research focuses on the taxonomy of Basidiomycetes of the family Clavariaceae and Ascomycetes of the family Clavicipitaceae. Since 2015, she has been building a DNA laboratory at the Museum to participate in iBOL. Recently, she has been the primary representative of the Slovak Barcode of Life (SK-BOL) and is actively working on building the SK-BOL network.

South Africa

African Centre for DNA Barcoding

Michelle van der Bank received her PhD in Botany from the Rand Afrikaans University (now University of Johannesburg, South Africa) in 1996. She is a Professor in Botany at the University of Johannesburg and Director of the African Centre for DNA Barcoding (ACDB). ACDB’s mission is to fill the knowledge gap and strengthen research frameworks for international, regional and inter-institutional co-operation in Africa in the field of DNA technology for biodiversity science. Her research group uses molecular phylogenetics, comparative analyses and intensive fieldwork to address questions relevant to biodiversity conservation in Africa.

Spain

Department of Life Sciences within the Institute of Natural Products and Agrobiology

Brent Emerson is a Professor and Head of the Department of Life Sciences within the Institute of Natural Products and Agrobiology, located on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands. He leads a research group interested in understanding how arthropod diversity emerges within insular systems, how it is spatially structured, and identifying factors that explain this structure. His research uses molecular techniques ranging from reduced genome sequencing within species to single locus sequencing across entire species assemblages, including metabarcoding of bulk arthropod samples. His research program has increasingly focused on the community as the sampling unit to identify overriding processes driving shared species responses to landscape variation for biotic and abiotic factors. This often entails complex taxonomic challenges that can best be addressed by linking anonymous DNA sequences to their species of origin, wherein barcoding plays a fundamental role.

He is particularly interested in potential synergies for understanding biodiversity that may emerge from integrating barcoding with other genome-based tools and approaches, together with environmental data (e.g. remote sensing), with a particular interest in oceanic island systems.

Switzerland

Swiss Barcode of Life Network

Dr. Mathieu Perret is a Curator at the Conservatory and Botanical Garden of Geneva and a lecturer at the University of Geneva. His field of research is centred on molecular systematics and the evolution of plants, with a particular focus on palm families Gesneriaceae and Arecaceae. His approach combines phylogenetic studies with ecological and biogeographical data to investigate the origin and causes of plant diversity. His lab is currently developing NGS-based methods using targeted gene capture to resolve phylogenetic relationships in plants better. In 2020, Mathieu became chair of the Swiss Barcode of Life Network (SwissBOL), intending to develop a reference genetic catalogue for the species living in Switzerland.

Thailand

Chulalongkorn University

Buntika Butcher is an Associate Professor at the Department of Biology in the Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok (Thailand). She received her Ph.D. from Imperial College London under the supervision of Professor Donald Quicke in 2004 on the systematics of parasitic wasps in the subfamily Rogadinae (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Now, she is the head of the Integrative Ecology Laboratory.

Her research focuses on parasitoid wasps, especially in the family Braconidae. Using DNA barcoding, she is establishing a database of the parasitoids and the parasitoid-host relationships in Thailand with an emphasis on lepidopteran larval hosts. This work has implications for both biodiversity conservation and biocontrol applications as well as in the understanding of evolutionary biology.

The Netherlands

Naturalis Biodiversity Center

Dimitris Koureas is the chief information officer at Naturalis Biodiversity Center and executive director and co-initiator of the Distributed System of Scientific Collections (DiSSCo) European Research Infrastructure. He holds a Ph.D. in biosystematics with postdoctoral expertise in biodiversity informatics and the research data lifecycle. He is an invited lecturer, teaching biodiversity informatics across European universities. Dimitris is a member of the Technical Advisory Board of RDA and executive boards of several multi-partner multi-million European projects. He also serves as a member of the steering group of the Dutch national infrastructure on DNA-based biomonitoring (ARISE) and various other board-level positions of international organizations.

Turkey

University of Ankara

Emre Keskin is a molecular evolutionary biologist and Associate Professor at Ankara University, Turkey, where he leads the Evolutionary Genetics Laboratory (eGL). Emre focuses on molecular phylogenetics and (e)DNA (meta)barcoding techniques used to identify biodiversity in aquatic ecosystems across Europe within EU DNAqua-Net Action Network as a management committee member and a working group co-leader. He uses these techniques to study interactions among species in aquatic ecosystems, particularly invasive, endemic and endangered species and their interactions with the environment. Apart from this, eGL is working on analyzing epigenetic and metagenomic methods to investigate the evolution of microorganisms, vertebrates, and invertebrates. His working group recently started working on experimental evolution. Emre’s primary focus on DNA barcoding concerns freshwater and marine fish.

United Kingdom

Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh

Pete Hollingsworth is the Director of Science and Deputy Keeper at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh. He is also an Honorary Professor of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a Visiting Professor of the University of Edinburgh, and a Visiting Professor of the University of Johannesburg. His research focuses on understanding and conserving plant biodiversity. He has a deep history with the International Barcode of Life, focusing on developing and applying plant barcode protocols. He has a strong interest in linking scientific research to practical conservation outcomes. He has recently been involved in projects ranging from best-practice guidance for conservation translocations, understanding pest and pathogen threats to plant biodiversity, monitoring illegal trade in protected species, and undertaking large-scale spatial analyses to enhance conservation planning.

United Kingdom

Natural History Museum, London

Ben Price is a Principal Curator (Insects) at the Natural History Museum and coordinator of the UK node of iBOL. His research focuses on accelerating biodiversity discovery through DNA barcoding and metabarcoding, particularly for freshwater invertebrates. More recently, he has led projects to genome skim museum specimens, often over a century old, to recover barcodes and other genes. Within Biodiversity Genomics Europe, he leads the museum sampling task, coordinating sampling across >15 partner museums; and the barcode sequencing work package, generating genome skim data from museum specimens and barcode amplicons from fresh specimens.

United States of America

The Field Museum

Thorsten Lumbsch completed his B.Sc. on lichen development at Philipps University Marburg (Germany) in 1989. He completed his Ph.D. on chemotaxonomy of Australian lichens at Essen University (Germany) in 1993, where he was subsequently a lecturer (“Privatdozent”). In 2003 he moved to Chicago (USA) to start a position as Assistant Curator at the Field Museum. Thorsten holds a Curator position at the Field Museum and is a lecturer at the University of Chicago. He also serves as Vice President for Science and Education at the Field Museum. Thorsten’s research interests include lichenized fungi, focusing on hyperdiverse clades in the tropics of the Old World. He is interested in phylogenetic relationships at different taxonomic levels, including species delimitation, historical biogeography, diversification history, and higher-level evolutionary relationships.

United States of America

National Museum of Natural History

Scott Miller is Deputy Under Secretary at the Smithsonian Institution overseeing Science, Collections, and Interdisciplinary Support, and previously held leadership positions at the National Zoological Park, the National Museum of Natural History, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology in Nairobi, Kenya, and the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii. He helped establish and lead the Consortium for the Barcode of Life—an international network that worked closely with the Canadian Centre for DNA Barcoding in developing DNA-based identification tools to make biodiversity information more widely available and in promoting DNA Barcoding applications in many fields including agricultural pests, ecological monitoring, and wildlife forensics. He also maintains an active collaborative research program that uses DNA barcoding as a backbone to link museum collections and taxonomic information to specimens from ecological field surveys, focusing on the ecology and systematics of herbivorous insects (especially moths), their host plants, and their parasites, primarily in Papua New Guinea and Kenya, with the ultimate goal of understanding how patterns of diversity have been generated and are maintained.

United States of America

Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

Brian Brown is the Curator of Entomology at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, where he oversees, researches, and adds to a collection of about 6 million recent and fossil insects. He did his early degree work at the University of Guelph and then completed a Ph.D. at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. After a two-year Postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Maryland / Smithsonian Institution, he began work in Los Angeles in 1993.

His research is centred on one of the world’s most diverse groups of insects, small flies of the family Phoridae, especially those parasitoids known as ant-decapitating flies. He works mainly on tropical faunas, especially in the New World tropics, as well as urban biodiversity in California. His work is primarily on the evolutionary history, taxonomy, and behaviour of flies and has only recently begun to work with barcoding to help address the taxonomic impediment of thousands of undescribed species.

Learn more about iBOL

The International Barcode of Life Consortium is a research alliance undertaking the largest global biodiversity science initiative: create a digital identification system for life that is accessible to everyone

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