Adult volunteers are invited to apply for an opportunity to participate in BioTrails, a new citizen science project that will use genetic techniques to monitor animal and plant species within Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park.
BioTrails is a project of the MDI Biological Laboratory in collaboration with the National Park Service and the Schoodic Education and Research Center Institute, and is supported by an award from the National Science Foundation (DRL-1223210)
The goal of the project is to establish practices for combining public participation in scientific research (citizen science) with DNA-based species identification (DNA barcoding) to scale-up and improve the accuracy of research projects that monitor animal and plant species in the sea and on land as they respond to climate change and other environmental changes.
Once established through this project, the BioTrails team intends to expand the model to other national parks and long-distance trails, paving the way for engaging more citizen scientists in more places to understand, monitor and manage biodiversity in a rapidly changing world.
Participants will collaborate with scientists in the field and in the lab, collecting, sorting and identifying invertebrates from eelgrass beds in Frenchman Bay as part of an MDIBL restoration project, and helping create DNA barcoding reference libraries. In addition to generating data for addressing ecological research questions, participants will participate in surveys and interviews designed to evaluate the educational benefits of the BioTrails participant experience.
The first BioTrails event took place in September 2013. More events are planned in 2014. Sign up to receive email alerts about the program. We welcome your participation and interest!
For more information, please contact the program director, Karen James.