It is critical to document where species live, how they move, and to determine which are in decline. This effort is beyond the ability of scientists working alone. Until recently, taxonomic classification for most species required experts capable of evaluating the differences between them. This changed with the advent of DNA barcodes, which allow non-experts to make objective identifications.
Citizen scientists can amplify the number and locations of observations well beyond the capabilities of expert scientists—and provide an early-warning network to alert experts to unexpected findings. Involvement in citizen science allows participants to gain an understanding of science while also empowering them through this new knowledge and their contributions. Citizen scientists also learn critical thinking skills needed to assess conflicting claims or new scientific discoveries.
DNA Barcoding 101 includes experimental methods and resources for using DNA barcoding to identify plants or animals or products made from them.