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BioDATA course

The BioDATA workshop “Accelerating biodiversity research through DNA barcodes, collection, and observation data” was successfully held in Yundola, Bulgaria. The event is organized by the Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, BAS, GBIF (Global Biodiversity Information Facility), University of Oslo (BioDATA project) as part of a series of national courses in different countries with the ultimate goal to develop skills in biodiversity data management and data publishing among young people.

The workshop in Bulgaria brought 33 participants (M.Sc. and Ph.D. students students, members of the BULCode project) from the Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, BAS, Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research, BAS, Sofia University St. Kliment Ohridski as well as students from Romania, Serbia and Hungary.

In a friendly and intensive team networking atmosphere, the participants gained practical skills and familiarized themselves with:

1. Principles of Data management - international research data infrastructures such as Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), international data standards (Darwin Core), softwares on data improvement, data publishing with the Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT), and preparation of data papers. The Data Management skills were also addressed in the context of DNA barcoding and metabarcoding studies emphasizing on the need to achieve Free and Open Access Biodiversity Data as well as FAIR (Findable, Accesible, Ineroperable, Reusable) data principles.

1. DNA barcoding and metabarcoding as a methodological approach to study biodiversity – from specimen collection and data analyses to data management for tackling different taxonomic questions

2. BOLD system and other barcode reference depositories as platforms for storage and analysis of DNA barcode data

Brainstorming and networking activities in the form of Data journey (DJ) sessions were implemented during the course and allowed participants to design research projects and their data elements on plant-pollinator system bumblebee Bombus/Vicia in the context of Bulgaria


More information about the topics of BioDATA course can be found on



Field trip and Bioblitz competition

A field trip and training in biodata capturing using the application iNaturalist ( were carried out as part of the program of the course. We are thrilled to announce that during the Bioblitz competition the participants of the course managed to make 1440 observations with 467 species identified (plants, insects, fungi, mollusks, reptiles, birds) that have ranked the course in Bulgaria at the 2d place among all seven BioDATA BioBlitz international initiative performed so far.

Achnowledgments to all contributors within this initiative!

Congratulations to winners in the competition for number of observations, number of identified species and number of identifications made.

Most observations made and highest number of species observed

  1. Teodora Tanase (Department of Natural Sciences and Agricultural Sciences, Ovidius University)

  2. Snezhina Popova (University of Sofia “St. Kliment Ohridski”, Sofia, Bulgaria)

  3. Sabina Vlad (Department of Natural Sciences and Agricultural Sciences, Ovidius University)

The prize for the highest number of identifications goes to Miruna-Gabriela Vizireanu (Department of Natural Sciences and Agricultural Sciences, Ovidius University, Constanta, Romania) and her score (61 species) is remarkable as it is the second highest among the top 145 identifiers worldwide in the framework of all organized BioDATA BioBlitz competitions so far.


Course lectures & Practicals

Field trip and iNaturalist competition

Our teachers and mentors

ICDBB 2022
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Dear colleagues and friends, the International Conference on DNA Barcoding and Biodiversity was successfully held in Sofia Bulgaria, May 25-27, 2022! The conference was organized by the Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics, BAS in the framework of the project BULCode within the National Program “European Scientific Networks” of the Ministry of Education and Science of Bulgaria. This conference is the first and unique of its kind as a topic addressing DNA barcoding biodiversity studies not only for Bulgaria but for Eastern Europe. The conference brought together about 170 people including on-site and online presenters and listeners from 40 countries. We acknowledge all participants including guest lecturers Paul Hebert, Hugo de Boer, Kristy Deiner, Fedor Ciampor Jr., Laura Parducci, Marko Mutanen and Torbjorn Ekrem for sharing their research. A wide range of biodiversity and food-safety studies covering all living taxa were presented through inspiring talks and posters. We are glad that we had the chance to meet face-to-face eminent researchers involved in DNA barcoding studies and we all have enjoyed fruitful discussions, planning of further collaborations activities and a lot of fun during the conference. The event is a great achievement for BULCode project in its goals to promote biodiversity studies in Bulgaria through DNA barcoding and establishing collaboration networks in the field.

         Acknowledgments to the members of the Organizing Committee of ICDBB 2022 and the project BULCode for their enormous work to have the event successfully held. We appreciate the support of the organizing partner Congress Management & Events LTD. Special thanks to Pensoft Publishers for their acceptance to be part of the conference and to contribute to the public dissemination of the conference and the presented scientific data!

More information about the conference as well as a photo gallery can be found on the web pages of the conference ( and the project BULCode ( as well as on social platforms Facebook (BULCode project) and Twitter (#ICDBB2022).

Looking forward to future events!

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BULCode posters
Poster session
Our keynote speakers
Research visit of the Bulgarian team in Finland
April 19-23, 2022

Visiting the Viikki campus of University of Helsinki, Department of Agricultural Sciences

Visiting the University of Turku, Visiting the Natural History Museum of Helsinki and the Botanical garden


BULCode project presented at

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Members of the BULCode project took part of the exciting and enriching scientific forum which brought together renown scientists involved in basic and applied research in various domains of plant biology - physiology, biochemistry, genetics. The project leader Dr. Georgi Bonchev gave a talk where he presented the project concept, goals, expected impacts as well as he outlined performed training activities on DNA barcoding and some preliminary results concerning the analysis of native for Bulgaria plant genetic resources. In addition, three posters showing case DNA barcoding studies on model plants and phytopathogenic fungi were also presented.

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Summer DNA barcoding training camp – sampling field specimens

(June 10-12, 2021)

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The 3-days summer camp brought together participants of the BulCode project from the Institute of Plant Physiology and Genetics (IPPG) and the Institute of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Research (IBER). The training was provided by the teaching staff from IBER with pronounced expertise in plant biodiversity, taxonomy and ecology. Participants were introduced with the basic procedures for the collection of plant material from natural habitats following standards ensuring the obtaining of further high quality molecular and taxonomic data. The following topics were addressed:

  1. Theoretical overview of activities preceding the organization of collection trips

    - Need of comprehensive overview of available information from literature and herbarium collections to prepare a list of target species and their appropriate areas of collection.

   2. Protocols for collection of plant specimens

    - Ecology guidelines for sampling endangered, rare or preserved species

    - How to obtain and store tissue samples in field conditions ensuring their preservation for       subsequent DNA analyses (e.g use of silica gel, specimen collection envelopes etc),

    - How to prepare herbarium vouchers

   3. Documentation of vouchers as a prerequisite for the upload of DNA barcodes into databases

    - photodocumentation of specimens

    - labeling of specimens


           In the course of the training botanical camp, several collection areas in Eastern Rhodope Mountains (vicinity of towns Haskovo and Kardzhali) were visited and vouchers from endemic plant species from families Centaurea and Verbascum were collected which will be used for DNA barcoding studies.


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