A successful Toyota Enviro Outreach has recently concluded, and it was truly inspiring to witness the collaboration of scientists from various backgrounds working together towards a common objective. The team, led by the University of Johannesburg, comprised specialists in the fields of insects, plants, gastropods, fungi, and fish identification. They embarked on a journey to iSimangaliso Wetland Park with the purpose of collecting plant and animal specimens for DNA barcoding.
In total, they collected over 1,020 species, representing approximately 2,806 individuals. Once the barcodes for these samples are generated, they will be uploaded to the Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD), an online platform that serves as a reference library of DNA barcodes for South African plants and animals. This valuable resource will be freely available for use by the broader scientific and amateur naturalist communities.
The African Centre for DNA Barcoding at the University of Johannesburg, along with their partners from the International Barcode of Life project, extend their deep gratitude to Toyota SA for providing a fleet of vehicles and the unique opportunity through the Toyota Enviro Outreach to collect samples for DNA barcoding. They express special thanks to Gerhard and Elmarie Groenewald and their team from Klipbokkop Nature Reserve near Worcester for their logistical support and constant encouragement, without which the goals of the expedition would not have been achieved. The team also appreciates the assistance of the authorities at iSimangaliso Wetland Park and Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife in obtaining the necessary collecting permits. Furthermore, they would like to thank their other sponsors, including 4X4 Mega World, Camp World, National Luna, Good Year, and Total, for their unwavering support and commitment to the DNA barcoding project.
The successful completion of this Toyota Enviro Outreach emphasizes the power of collaboration and showcases the dedication, passion, and scientific excellence of the participating team.