First look at vast 'book of life'

"The first 30,000 pages have been unveiled of a vast encyclopedia which aims to catalogue every one of our planet's 1.8 million species.  The immense online resource is designed to greatly enhance our understanding of the world's diminishing biodiversity."

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) will cover all six kingdoms of life, including viruses and extinct species.  Goals include:

  • assess impact of climate change
  • assist in controlling invasive species
  • track spread of diseases
  • raise awareness of biodiversity

The project started with a letter by E. O. Wilson to the MacArthur Foundation in 2006, which led to preliminary funding.  One million placeholder pages have been built, of which 30,000 are populated.  All 1.8 million pages are planned to be completed by 2017.

The Biomimicry Institute is collaborating with EOL to create linkages with the Ask Nature portal.  More information will be available in the upcoming August 2008 issue of the BioInspired! Newsletter.

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