ECO-CODING: A Centre for DNA Meta-barcoding Ecology

Theme Icon for Biodiversity, Environmental Change & Green Economy
Ecocoding with subtitle

ECO-CODING is a HEIF (Higher education innovation fund) funded project that will bring the technology of DNA barcoding to BU, collaborating environmental organisations and local school children. DNA (eDNA) meta-barcoding involves the use of DNA produced by living organisms, collected from the environment and matched to DNA databases telling us what species are present. eDNA can rapidly, non-invasively and cost effectively inform and influence critical issues in ecology and forensics.


The project has four key elements:

Urban Pollinators Project: How are pollinators using urban wildflower planting strips?


The Urban Pollinators project will be in collaboration with the National Botanic Garden of Wales and Bournemouth Borough Council. The project will identify pollen species from pollinators’ bodies to uncover what plants they are using in the urban environment and in addition discover the value of urban wildflower planting. This will inform the best planting strategies for pollinators. This project will provide guidance both locally (Bournemouth Borough Council) and nationally through the HEIF+1 funded Pollinator Exchange Hub. Led by Dr Liz Franklin and Dr Kathy Hodder from BU and Natasha de Vere from the National Botanic Garden of Wales

13576776_1749838811906508_7719344793625739470_o BombusLorT

The river connectivity project: How are engineering structures affecting migratory fish in the river Severn catchment?

The river connectivity project is in collaboration with the Environment Agency, Natural England and the Severn Rivers Trust. Using an eDNA collected from the water and using meta-barcoding techniques the project will assess how river engineering structures in the River Severn catchment shape its biological fish communities, with a focus on migratory fish such as salmon (threatened) and eels (critically endangered). Led by Professor Rob Britton, Dr Emilie Hardouin and Dr Demetra Andeou

river connectivity


Develop a hub for eDNA meta-barcoding at BU

After completing the two meta-barcoding projects will qualify BU’s expertise in this field. ECO-CODING BU will discuss the potential of advertising and providing commercial eDNA meta-barcoding services as part of BU’s consultancy services BUG (Adrian Pinder), providing a unique angle to the services BUG can deliver to its customers and increasing BU’s potential for impacting ecological policy worldwide.


Inspiring local community and engaging the public.

Delivering public outreach events at BU’s festival of learning and at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in collaboration with the Faculty of Media and Communication. We will introduce our work at these outreach events using the concept of “The DNA Detective” and a series of interactive narratives, much like the Royal Society Christmas lectures, focusing on plant DNA such as, pollen being used link a burglar to a crime scene who brushed against a particular bush on his way out. We will promote these events to local schools with the help of our BU Advertising students and maximising social media use to generate publicity using #DNADetective. Led by Dr Jenny Alexander and Dr Liz Franklin

DNA Detective

Tagged:DNA BarcodingHEIFriver ecologyurban pollinators

Latest news from this project:

  • DNA Detective marketing team Collaboration and Co-creation with the Faculty of Media & Communication

    The student marketing team of  Zoe Franklin, Danielle Horsley and Jordan Hazell mentored by  Dr Jenny Alexander joined forces with Dr Liz Franklin to create the DNA Detectives marketing team.... »

  • DNA Meta-Barcoding Workshop

    On the 23rd May our Post Doctoral researcher Dr Caitlin Potter shared her DNA Barcoding analytical knowledge with us giving us a day long workshop into processing raw next generation... »

  • Buzzing DNA Detectives link up with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

    For our upcoming Buzzing DNA Detectives outreach events, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust have agreed to work in partnership with our project. At these events visiters can learn how DNA metabarcoding... »

  • Eco-Coding Academic Outreach in York

    On 23rd of February Dr Liz Franklin of the Eco-coding team was invited up to York to give a lunchtime seminar to staff, undergraduates and postgraduates on DNA barcoding and... »

  • Eco-Coding Project Video

      A new video has been produced to present the Eco-Coding project’s aims and objectives,  a project which is being led by Dr Liz Franklin. Eco-Coding is a HEIF (Higher education... »

  • Welcoming Dr Caitlin Potter to the BU Eco-Coding team

    We would like to welcome Dr Caitlin Potter who joined our Eco-Coding team from Bangor University on the 31st October. Her previous work has been on microbial communities of peatlands... »

  • Wanted post doc for eco-coding projects

    We are looking for a Post Doc to join our team utilising eDNA methods to inform ecological management for river fish and urban pollinators. Working closely in collaboration with Dr... »

What is DNA Barcoding?


Dr Liz Franklin – PI

Dr Emilie Hardouin – Genetics advisor / co-PI

Dr Kathy Hodder– Urban Pollinator sub – project

Prof Rob Britton – River connectivity sub-project

Dr Demetra Andreou – River connectivity sub-project

Dr Jenny Alexander – Environmental communication (Media School)

Dr Natasha de Vere – National Botanic Garden of Wales