Adult volunteers are invited to apply for an opportunity to participate in BioTrails, a citizen science project that will use genetic techniques to monitor animal and plant species in Maine’s Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park area.

The project’s goal is to establish practices for combining public participation in scientific research 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.

There will be two BioTrails events in 2013. Each event will be held on two consecutive weekends as follows (participants are expected to attend both weekends):

  • August 16-18 and 24-25 Schoodic Education and Research Center, Winter Harbor, Maine
Research focus: terrestrial invertebrates and climate change
  • September 6-8 and 14-15 Mount Desert Island Biological Laboratory, Salisbury Cove, Maine Research focus: marine invertebrates and habitat restoration

Selected participants will collaborate with scientists in the field and in the lab, collecting, sorting and identifying invertebrates from either a forest on the Schoodic Peninsula or 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 be expected to participate in surveys and interviews designed to evaluate the educational benefits of the BioTrails participant experience.

Project Details

  • PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: Karen James, Program Director
  • SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: Mount Desert Island and Acadia National Park area (MDIBL)
  • DATES: Ongoing
  • PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
  • COST: Free
  • GRADE LEVEL: 18+ years old

    Questions about BioTrails or the application process? Please contact Karen James at 207.288.9880 x 427 or via

See more projects in FreeFieldwork18+ years old.

What Is Citizen Science?

Research often involves teams of scientists collaborating across continents. Now, using the power of the Internet, non-specialists are participating, too. Citizen Science falls into many categories. A pioneering project was SETI@Home, which has harnessed the idle computing time of millions of participants in the search for extraterrestrial life. Citizen scientists also act as volunteer classifiers of heavenly objects, such as in Galaxy Zoo. They make observations of the natural world, as in The Great Sunflower Project. And they even solve puzzles to design proteins, such as FoldIt. We'll add projects regularly—and please tell us about others you like as well.

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