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Friday, February 28, 2020 @ 11:30 am - 12:30 pm

Prof. Paul Hebert presents: Tracing the Patterns of Life on a Changing Planet

Earth observation satellites are watching biodiversity from afar, providing a synoptic view of shifting forest cover, plankton blooms, and the timing of budburst. Until now, most essential biodiversity variables have only been resolved in a local context, but DNA-based approaches will soon change this situation. Every multicellular species will be registered within 25 years by coupling DNA barcoding with a simplified approach for their description.

Building on this atlas of life, DNA metabarcoding will enable an earth observation system that monitors the shifting distributions and abundances of all species. DNA analysis will also reveal the symbiome, the parasites, commensals, mutualists and microbes that interact with every species. How do we achieve these advances? Building on its earlier role in leading BARCODE 500K, the International Barcode of Life Consortium recently launched BIOSCAN, a 7-year, $180 million program to develop the protocols and informatics support needed to achieve three key goals. By barcoding ten million specimens, a million new species will be encountered whose registration will be expedited by algorithms. BIOSCAN will also illuminate species interactions by deep sequencing a million specimens, revealing previously dark interactions that may structure biodiversity. Finally, by metabarcoding a 100 million specimens from sites spanning the globe, it will provide new details on species distributions and diversity. BIOSCAN is a launch pad – for the Planetary Biodiversity Mission which will, before mid-century, register all species while revealing their interactions and activating a global biosurveillance system.


Paul Hebert is a Canada Research Chair in Molecular Biodiversity at the University of Guelph where he is a professor in its Department of Integrative Biology and Director of its Centre for Biodiversity Genomics. He brings 30 years of experience in the oversight of major research and academic units. Focusing on a major research program in DNA barcoding he raised more than $100 million to construct specialized research facilities, and built a research team with outstanding capabilities in biodiversity science, informatics, and genomics. Paul’s research has employed diverse molecular approaches to advance understanding of issues such as breeding system evolution, invasive species, and genome size evolution. He is best known for proposing DNA barcoding as a tool for both specimen identification and species discovery.

The CBG Science Seminar Series is intended to provide a forum for the CBG researchers to present their work and to share new findings and ideas with their colleagues. We also encourage our visiting scientists and collaborators from different U of G departments to participate and present in this seminar series. We believe that this initiative will foster collaboration within CBG and with a wider community of researchers interested in biodiversity genomics. The seminars will be held in the CBG Visualization Theatre (Room 1009) every second Friday, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

If you are a faculty member, postdoctoral fellow, or visiting researcher and are interested in sharing your research in a 30-45 minute presentation at the Biodiversity Seminar Series please contact one of the coordinators listed on the CBG website. We accept submissions for talks on an ongoing basis.


Friday, February 28, 2020
11:30 am - 12:30 pm
Event Category:


Centre for Biodiversity Genomics
Ontario Canada

Additional Info

Room Number
Visualization Theatre
Event is open to
U of G students, U of G faculty and staff, The public