Discovering Alabama: students team with HudsonAlpha in honor of the bicentennial

Plant detectives are spreading across Alabama, searching for the hidden treasures of the state’s rich plant biodiversity through a newly launched program led by HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology.

HudsonAlpha’s Bicentennial Barcoding project is a citizen science effort that is bringing together Alabama high school students and partners from their community to genetically catalog Alabama’s native plant diversity.

“Because of the Lyndhurst Foundation, Vulcan Materials Company Foundation and other generous donors to this project, we hope to be able to catalog more than 1,500 samples from around the state of Alabama,” said Jennifer Carden. She is the HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach team member leading the Bicentennial Barcoding project.

HudsonAlpha Educational Outreach will provide training and classroom resources for the two-year project, beginning with a small group of early adopters who attended a training session at HudsonAlpha in April. Samples from these groups are currently being processed and analyzed. The pilot portion of the project kicked off in October with training in Mobile. Three more trainings will be conducted at sites around the state.

At the end of the project, student groups from 29 schools will have collected and catalogued more than 1,500 samples from around the state.

Bicentennial Barcoding is a collaboration between HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology and the Alabama Bicentennial, which supports, creates and executes events that commemorate the state’s history. The project is made possible through the generosity of the Lyndhurst Foundation, Vulcan Materials Company Foundation and other philanthropic donors.

For more information about the Bicentennial Barcoding project, visit hudsonalpha.org/bicentennial-barcoding.