The Education and Barcode of Life (eBOL) Community Web Portal provides educators with the key tools needed to bridge biodiversity research and education, and place their students at the nexus of science, nature, and technology.

The eBOL project complements the research activities of the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) community. eBOL emerged from a recognition that profound and pervasive deficits in bioliteracy – not only as it relates to knowledge and understanding of Earth’s biodiversity, but to life science more generally – are among the real-world problems that DNA barcoding can help address.

Until now, efforts to unlock the full potential of DNA barcoding to bridge research and education have been met by a number of significant challenges. The absence of a customized, centralized, and risk-free informatics platform where the educational community can seamlessly intersect with the iBOL research community has represented the most significant barrier to student engagement in DNA barcoding. This challenge has been compounded by fragmentary information on the fundamental concepts and methods of DNA barcoding (which is largely aimed at research audiences), misconceptions about barcode data standards and their implications for student participation in iBOL, and the lack of widely accessible and comprehensive curriculum materials for deployment in school and university settings.

Developed in partnership with educators, bioinformaticians, researchers, and science media experts, the eBOL Community Web Portal contains an integrated suite of new resources for educators to overcome these barriers and engage their students in novel, authentic, and interdisciplinary educational experiences centered on the new technology of DNA barcoding. The portal also provides a framework to support the formation of a broad and inclusive community dedicated to advancing DNA barcoding as a new tool to innovate, update, and revitalize life science education.