Humans are embedded in and sustained by a web of diverse life. Our survival, comfort, and security depend on maintaining its integrity. Today humans are driving species to extinction at rates 100-1000 times greater than those which prevailed for the past 500 million years. We’re disrupting ecosystems in ways, at speeds, and on a scale without precedent during our tenure. By assessing extent of biodiversity and changes to it we gather information key to protecting it. By protecting biodiversity we contribute to securing our future.
DNA barcoding is means to assemble a “library” of identified species more quickly, reliably, and inexpensively than is possible using only traditional taxonomic methods. People with minimal training can directly and effectively participate. Engaging diverse segments of the population in documenting biodiversity is demonstrated means to increase and disseminate understanding of its value and to motivate people to act to protect it.
Hilary Bayer teaches Apricot STEM fair attendees about biodiversity and the sixth mass extinction.