For the first time in the history of our barcoding activities, the AquaBOL.SK team has participated in a worldwide 8th International Barcode of Life Conference that is held every two years, this time in Trondheim, Norway. The conference was organized by NTNU University Museum and Norwegian Biodiversity Information Center in collaboration with NorBOL, Norway’s Barcoding Initiative 17-20. June 2019, during the summer solstice and thus endless white nights.

The conference was very inspiring, presenting over 400 presentations – plenary lectures, talks, or electronic posters on barcoding and metabarcoding research from all over the world. They reiterated the importance of building and improving quality reference barcode databases of different groups of organisms. The new iBOL project – BIOSCAN – was presented with an ambitious goal to barcode 2 million species of multicellular organisms by 2025.

The AquaBOL.SK initiative was also presented to the international audience at the conference for the first time! The “father of barcoding” prof. Paul Hebert himself listened to the presentation with interest and the subsequent conversation with him, encouraging words and the possibility of cooperation were, for us, some of the unforgettable moments of the conference.

In addition to the AquaBOL.SK, we also presented other activities we work on – barcoding of the South American water beetles of the Elmidae family and a joint publication of DNAqua-Net COST action (Weigand et al. 2019) analyzing the gaps in reference DNA data of the European aquatic biota and the possibility of using metabarcoding in the monitoring of aquatic ecosystems in the future.

The conference itself, as well as the pre-conference workshop on metabarcoding data analysis, pushed us again forward a bit, and we cannot wait for the next iBOL meeting in 2021 in Costa Rica!