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  • Wellington College teacher Andrea Shaw spent 2006 at NIWA as a New Zealand Science, Mathematics & Technology Teacher Fellow.

    She met up with budding film directors, Michael, Hugo, Callum, Carlos and Ben, all Year 10 students at Wellington College. Her work with sharks quickly grabbed their attention – and the viewfinders in their cameras.

    The shark work was part of the very ambitious Fish-Bol project, an international effort to collect DNA barcodes for all fish species. The goal was that any fish, or part of a fish (such as a fish fillet), can be identified by DNA analysis.

    The aim is to benefit conservation efforts by enabling fish to be more easily tracked, for example in fishing quotas and bycatch. It will also make consumer fraud, where high-value fish products are substituted with ones of less value, more easy to prove.

    Fish-Bol was part of the Barcode of Life project. It began in July 2005 and the project lasted five years.

    The Fish-Bol project

    Andrea Shaw, a teacher at Wellington College, spent a year at NIWA helping collect and analyse shark DNA as part of a major international research project.

    Catching sharks

    Wellington College teacher Andrea Shaw gets up close and personal with some sharks.

    Sequencing shark DNA

    Sequencing DNA requires several steps: first it must be isolated from the cells, then amplified by PCR, checked using gel electrophoresis, and finally sequenced. Teacher Andrea Shaw became an expert whilst working at NIWA for a year.

    Learning by filming

    Year 10 students from Wellington College worked with a professional film director to capture some of the work one of their teachers had been doing at NIWA. But holding a camera wasn't the only thing they learned.

    Related content

    Learn more about the work on barcoding sharks.

    Find out more about barcoding life and DNA barcoding.

    Discover more about research that has found that the long lifespans and slow reproduction rates of deep-water sharks and rays mean that these species are as vulnerable to overexploitation as whales once were.

    Useful links

    The iBOL (International Barcode of Life) iBOL project began in 2007, aims to analyse 5 million specimens representing 500,000 species over 5 years. Their goal is to assemble a library of DNA barcodes and develop technology that can identify species rapidly and inexpensively.

      Published 26 November 2007 Referencing Hub articles
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