ABOL goes Zambia

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DNA barcoding workshop - lab work. Photo: M. Sonnleitner

 

DNA barcoding workshop at the University of Zambia

In early October, ABOL held a DNA barcoding workshop at the University of Zambia (UNZA) in Lusaka together with Prof. Cyprian Katongo. The workshop – as part of the OeAD cooperation development research project “DNA barcoding of Zambia’s biodiversity” (led by the University of Graz) – aimed to teach students and employees the method and applications of DNA barcoding. The workshop started with two keynote lectures by Prof. Christian Sturmbauer (Univ. Graz). This was followed by a series of lectures on various aspects of biodiversity and DNA barcoding, held by Stephan Koblmüller (Univ. Graz), Cyprian Katongo (UNZA), Nikola Szucsich and Michaela Sonnleitner (ABOL coordination). After the strenuous introduction, the sampling trip to the Kafue and Zambezi rivers was certainly a highlight for the approximately 30 participants. Equipped with nets, the participants tried to catch different species of dragonflies and damselflies, which was very successful after a short training phase. Odonata are good indicator organisms for the quality of water bodies and are therefore well suited for starting a biodiversity survey. Suitable identification literature is also available. In addition, fish specimens for sampling were provided by the Department of Fisheries. The next day, tissue samples were taken from the dragonflies and fish and the animals were dry mounted/prepared for storage. The DNA extraction was carried out in the laboratory of veterinary medicine under the guidance of Lukas Zangl (University of Graz, Universalmuseum Joanneum) and Stephan Koblmüller. The last two days were dedicated to data analysis and interpretation. The participants were able to edit sequence data provided by the course leaders, calculate phylogenetic trees, etc. The participants were enthusiastic and committed to the task until the very end. We hope that the workshop has contributed to establish DNA barcoding as an approach to investigate Zambia’s rich biodiversity.

Impressiones from the workshop:

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