3.07.2008

Virtual Biodiversity: The Encyclopedia of Life

An ambitious new portal called the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) has just launched. This mega-effort-in-progress aims to document all species of life on Earth (at least the ones humans are aware of—new species continue to be discovered—and no doubt wiped out—all the time).

The site, which is expected to take 10 years to fully realize, includes some nice coverage of various bee species, although—surprisingly—they haven't gotten the honeybee up there yet. I'm sure it's just a matter of time.

Here are some highlights from the EOS website about the project's goals:

* Create a constantly evolving encyclopedia that lives on the Internet, with contributions from scientists and amateurs alike.

* Transform the science of biology, and inspire a new generation of scientists, by aggregating virtually all known data about every living species.

* Engage a wide audience of schoolchildren, educators, citizen scientists, academics and those who are just curious about Earth's species.

* Increase our collective understanding of life on Earth, and safeguard the richest possible spectrum of biodiversity.

The portal is in its nascent phase, so check back over time to enjoy its ever-growing base of information. I certainly plan to explore this resource deeply, all the while remembering that while virtual biodiversity is a wonderful occurrence, the real thing is more glorious by a factor of—oh, I dunno—infinity.

2 comments:

Thew said...

In that Arthur C. Clark story (or is it I. Asimov?) once they get all the names of god down, the world comes to an end...

Gerry Gomez Pearlberg said...

Well then, set your watch for ten years hence!