Expanding its network and funding
The FinBOL network now includes more than 130 experts and three major university museums - the Zoological Museum at University of Oulu, Finnish Museum of Natural History at University of Helsinki and the Zoological Museum at the University of Turku.
With the recent announcement by the Kone Foundation and the University of Oulu of $160,000 in grants for this year, FinBOL is positioned to make rapid progress in barcoding many groups of animals, plants and fungi.
FinBOL has set a goal of 5,000 species barcodes by the end of this year, a first step towards its goal of barcoding 30,000 specimens representing 15,000 species in four years, around 30 percent of the country's estimated total diversity.
Node lead Marko Mutanen said that a barcode library for the country's 2,600 species of Lepidoptera is almost complete and large-scale barcoding of many other groups - including fungi, bryophytes and other plants, beetles, freshwater insects, caddisflies, flies, spiders, true bugs and bees - is getting underway.
"With an estimated 50,000 species, the Finnish diversity is not comparable to that of tropical countries," said Mutanen. "But expertise is abundant and the national fauna, flora and fungi are unusually well investigated. This provides an excellent starting point to barcode the life of Finland comprehensively in a relatively short time frame."
The FinBOL network brings together both professional and amateur experts. "While museums with large collections and taxonomic specialists are vitally important for achieving our goals, we are also trying to barcode many private collections," said Mutanen. "They have the important benefit of usually consisting of young specimens, highly useful for barcoding."