Saturday, March 8, 2008

Ultimate species catch-all comes online

By Rick Morris

We at The FDH Lounge pride ourselves on bringing you the utmost in variety of content on different subjects. But even we come up short in comparison to the new Encyclopedia of Life website, which aspires to bring together info on every species known to man and ultimately, some that are not known.

Courtesy of this article at Monsters and Critics, here's some notes about what the new site will constitute:

"The unveiling is the culmination of more than two years of work by scientists and internet experts intent on documenting the world's 1.8 million known species in one place.

The website will eventually bring together for the first time ever scientific information that has accumulated in a hodgepodge of books, websites, scientific associations and libraries since the system of genus and species identification was invented some 300 years ago ...

Over the next 10 years, the sponsors hope to have at least 1 million species online - still only a fraction of the 8 to 50 million unidentified species they believe exist ...

The 12.5-million-dollar privately-funded project involves Harvard University, the Smithsonian Institution, the MacArthur and Sloan Foundations and a number of other world institutions.

The Encyclopaedia of Life was the brainchild of EO Wilson, an emeritus Harvard professor and advocate for preserving biodiversity who believes the project will 'accelerate the discovery of the vast array' of species that remain unknown ...

The site will also serve the needs of the general public, offering advice about when to plant crops as the Earth's climate heats up, the sponsors said. Eventually, there could be two separate tracks on the website for entering information - one for scientists, the other for the general public.

Most of the information is in English, but the intent is to translate into the world's major languages such as Chinese, Japanese and possibly Arabic in addition to the European Union languages."

We're going to add this site to our "Ultimate Links Page," specifically in "The FDH Lounge/Completely Random" section. It should be a great educational resource and a lot of fun for general perusing.

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