Illuminating Canadian biodiversity with DNA-based identification systems

Our Mission

Enable high-throughput biosurveillance for all multicellular life and transform our capacity to manage biodiversity in Canada and worldwide.

Environmental change is driving species extinctions at an accelerating pace. If we are to curb these trajectories, we must be able to rapidly track changes in biodiversity on a planetary scale. Motivated by this urgent need, the International Barcode of Life (iBOL) Consortium activated BIOSCAN in June 2019. Coordinated from Canada’s Centre for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG), BIOSCAN involves researchers and organizations from over 30 nations which share the goal of establishing an Earth observation system for biodiversity.

BIOSCAN-Canada is catalyzing BIOSCAN’s success in each of these areas:

Species Discovery

Complete the registry of all multicellular life in Canada using DNA barcoding

Species Interactions

Reveal connections between species to understand biological communities

Species Dynamics

Track changes in species distribution in response to ecosystem modifications

Optimizing protocols for
biodiversity analysis

BIOSCAN-Canada aims to optimize protocols for DNA barcoding, symbiome analysis, and metabarcoding – tools that will increase the speed and scope of biodiversity analysis. These cost-effective methods will also increase the capacity of the CBG’s core facility and will be transferred to new core facilities in other countries to accelerate the work of BIOSCAN internationally.

Building genomics-based biodiversity knowledge

Our work generates genomics-based biodiversity knowledge for ecosystems. It reveals new species and interactions among species that could help to mitigate and forecast economic impacts.
BIOSCAN-Canada is also tracking how species are responding to environmental change.

Developing a Natural Capital Accounting system

BIOSCAN-Canada is developing a Natural Capital Accounting (NCA) system that incorporates genomics-based biodiversity knowledge co-produced with Indigenous Peoples. Our team fosters discussions to facilitate user-informed generation and dissemination of results. At the same time, the NCA framework will address policy relevance and access and benefits sharing related to digital sequence information.

Genomics benefitting society and nature

Paul Hebert

University of Guelph
Theme Lead: Species Discovery
Project Leader

Elizabeth Clare

York University
Theme Lead: Species Interactions

Melania Cristescu

McGill University
Theme Lead: Species Dynamics

David Castle

University of Victoria
Theme Lead: Genomics in Society

Crystal Tremblay

University of Victoria
Theme: Genomics in Society

Kevin Kerr

University of Guelph
Project Manager

Partners and Sponsors


Join BIOSCAN-Canada’s interdisciplinary team in a major initiative that aims to transform Canadians’ understanding of biodiversity and nature.

BIOSCAN-Canada’s commitment

BIOSCAN-Canada project is committed to diversity and inclusion in its research and outreach activities. It welcomes applications from racialized persons, women, Indigenous people, persons with disabilities, LGBTQ2+ persons, and others who may contribute to the diversification of ideas. BIOSCAN-Canada provides support throughout the application process for applicants with disabilities. We work with you to understand the impact of your disability to accommodate you during the application/interview process appropriately. Please get in touch with Sue-Ann Connolly for assistance.