Costa Rica’s BioAlfa Biodiversity Identification Project received a $ 1 million donation from the Walder Foundation in Chicago, the Center for Biodiversity Genomics (CBG) at the University of Guelph, Canada (CBG), and from a private donor from Canada.
With these resources, Bioalfa -declared of national interest in 2019 by executive decree No. 41767- will be able to finance the analyzes corresponding to all the insects collected in a year and the generation of their DNA barcodes, enriching the Costa Rican inventory and bringing the country closer to the generation of its own national information, said Angela González, director of the National Biodiversity Management Commission (CONAGEBIO).
For his part, Rafael Gutiérrez, executive director of the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC) explained that this inventory was initiated in 2019 by SINAC in national parks and wild areas, with the facilitation of the Technical Office of the National Commission for Biodiversity Management (CONAGEBIO) and the BioAlfa project, training park rangers and administrators in the different activities of trapping and processing insects from each place.
The traps are tents similar to a tent with the door open and each one can trap between 10,000 and 100,000 insects per year in an ethanol container. Since then there are hundreds of thousands of frozen insect samples, which have not been possible to analyze and identify due to lack of budget. The cost of the laboratory process is $ 1 each insect and is performed at the CBG of the University of Guelph, Canada.
This situation will now be solved with the million dollar donation given to the BioAlfa project by the Walder Foundation -an entity that invests in scientific innovation and environmental sustainability, among other areas-, the public University of Guelph and a Canadian private donor.
Bioalfa. The BioAlfa initiative – facilitated by American biologists Daniel Janzen and Winnie Hallwachs, Guanacaste Conservation Area and National Parks Foundation (FPN) – is supported by CONAGEBIO) and SINAC.
Strengthen scientific development in environmental matters
The objective of the project is to strengthen scientific development in environmental matters, publicize and identify the wild biodiversity of Costa Rica, mainly its taxonomy, biology and ecology. In this sense, it intends to inventory by means of DNA barcodes all the multicellular wild biodiversity of Costa Rica, whether in wild, agricultural or urban areas.
By being declared of national interest by the government, in 2019, it has allowed for the collaboration of many institutions and public and private, national and international organizations.
Likewise, it has made it easier for Costa Rican scientists to discover new species throughout the country’s history, using “barcoding” techniques (DNA reading) that will be available in a few years to any user and easily accessible on the internet.
All the information generated by BioAlfa will be integrated into the Biodiversity Knowledge and Information Management Platform (BIODATACR), also declared of public interest for Costa Rica.