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.

Reports and Research from Other Organizations Confirming Biodiversity Decline

  • The paper "Underestimating the Challenges of Avoiding a Ghastly Future," authored by several eminent ecologists, and a news article summarising it introduce many of the ecological challenges we face.

  • A broad study of recent declines in animal biodiversity found sixty-four percent of monitored invertebrate populations show a 45% mean decline in abundance.

  • Scientists using Malaise Traps to monitor flying insect biomass in German nature preserves documented a 75% decline over 27 years. Their findings are described in this paper and news article.

  • This paper describes some of the challenges, particularly urbanization and intensification of land use, facing insect conservation efforts in the Bay Area.