Barcoding the Broads

Introducing the Project:

As part of the pioneering UK-led Darwin Tree of Life project (DToL), the Wellcome and UKRI-BBSRC funded ‘Barcoding the Broads’ programme provides training on how to collect samples and then sequence a DNA barcode of species found in the East of England. Showcasing the modern scientific disciplines of genomics and bioinformatics, the outreach project will help more people to conserve the brimming biodiversity of our unique waterways and connect with our environment.

Youth STEMM Award is delighted to partner with the Earlham Institute and Wellcome Connecting Science to promote this fantastic project.

Read the full Press Release here!

And check out the introductory video from the DToL team:

The big question is of course how can YOU get involved, and of course log Youth STEMM Award hours at the same time? Explore our ideas below and if you’re a teacher or educator get in touch with Sam Rowe (Project Lead) at or go to the Earlham institute and fill in the contact us form to book a free training session for your students.

You can read a blog by Sam on the DToL website which gives further information here!

Engaging the Public:

What do scientists do? Most people think of scientists as working in a lab or doing fieldwork. In the 21st Century, all scientists have to communicate, and much of that communication is visual. In this session provided by infohackit, we look at the kind of visual communications scientists have to do, and the design principles they can use to improve the impact of their science:

Now its time to put your training into practice! Why not create your own poster to Engage the Public about a species or topic that interests you.

You could also write about the topic or species in a blog or social media post to get others involved and engaged in what DToL are trying to achieve, and tag them to get some more engagement @darwintreelife


Developing Skills and Knowledge:

Find out more and learn about the project at the DToL website, the Barcoding the Broads website or blog or check out the protocols below to find out how to DNA Barcode in a Lab!

Want to find out how to do DNA Barcoding in the Lab? Check out these short videos from Cold Spring Harbour in the US and download the actual protocol we use in the training here in the UK

Part 1, Rapid DNA Isolation
Part 2, PCR and Gel Electrophoresis
Part 3, DNA Sequencing and Species Identification
DNA Barcoding extraction protocol for plants – specialist equipment required

Shaping Your Future:

Explore some of the resources below to find out more about what a career in this sector could involve, you could even interview one of the scientists on the project and find out what route they took after school that led them into science:

To find out more about the people behind the project and what their role involves check out our STEMM Profiles series on Instagram (@youthstemmaward). You can also find profiles of a wide range of  different people working in STEMM linked areas. To get you started try clicking the icons below:

Explore the DToL ‘I’m a Scientist’ website and opportunities to engage with Scientists involved in the project directly.

Try watching one of the My STEMM Future webinars here and in the example below. New uploads linking to sequencing and bioinformatics are coming soon:


Inspiring the Next Generation:

Think about how you could simplify the information in the protocols, website and videos for a younger audience. If you undertake the training session could you create an activity for a YSA Junior to do?


With thanks to the following organisations, who have been involved in the funding, development and promotion of this project and its outcomes.