Encyclopedia of Life

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is a free, online collaborative encyclopedia intended to document all of the 1.9 million living species known to science. It is compiled from existing databases and from contributions by experts and non-experts throughout the world.[2] It aims to build one "infinitely expandable" page for each species, including video, sound, images, graphics, as well as text.[3] In addition, the Encyclopedia incorporates content from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, which digitizes millions of pages of printed literature from the world's major natural history libraries. The project was initially backed by a US$50 million funding commitment, led by the MacArthur Foundation and the Sloan Foundation, who provided US$20 million and US$5 million, respectively. The additional US$25 million came from five cornerstone institutions—the Field Museum, Harvard University, the Marine Biological Laboratory, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Smithsonian Institution. The project was initially led by Jim Edwards[4] and the development team by David Patterson. Today, participating institutions and individual donors continue to support EOL through financial contributions.

Encyclopedia of Life
EOL logo
Type of site
Encyclopedia
Available in
Created byField Museum
Harvard University
MacArthur Foundation
Marine Biological Laboratory
Missouri Botanical Garden
Sloan Foundation
Smithsonian Institution
Websiteeol.org
Alexa rankNegative increase 52,786 (September 2018)[1]
CommercialNo
RegistrationOptional
LaunchedFebruary 26, 2008
Current statusActive

Overview

EOL went live on 26 February 2008 with 30,000 entries.[5] The site immediately proved to be extremely popular, and temporarily had to revert to demonstration pages for two days when over 11 million views of it were requested.[6]

The site relaunched on 5 September 2011 with a redesigned interface and tools.[7] The new version – referred to as EOLv2 – was developed in response to requests from the general public, citizen scientists, educators and professional biologists for a site that was more engaging, accessible and personal. EOLv2 is redesigned to enhance usability and encourage contributions and interactions among users. It is also internationalized with interfaces provided for English, German, Spanish, French, Galician, Serbian, Macedonian, Arabic, Chinese, Korean and Ukrainian language speakers. On 16 January 2014, EOL launched TraitBank, a searchable, open digital repository for organism traits, measurements, interactions and other facts for all taxa.[8]

The initiative's Executive Committee includes senior officers from the Atlas of Living Australia, the Biodiversity Heritage Library consortium, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, CONABIO, Field Museum, Harvard University, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria), MacArthur Foundation, Marine Biological Laboratory, Missouri Botanical Garden, Sloan Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution.[9][10]

Intention

Information about many species is already available from a variety of sources, in particular about the megafauna. Gathering currently available data on all 1.9 million species will take about 10 years.[11] As of September 2011, EOL had information on more than 700,000 species available, along with more than 600,000 photos and millions of pages of scanned literature.[12] The initiative relies on indexing information compiled by other efforts, including the Sp2000 and ITIS Catalogue of Life, Fishbase and the Assembling Tree of Life project of NSF, AmphibiaWeb, Mushroom explorer, microscope, etc. The initial focus has been on living species but will later include extinct species. As the discovery of new species is expected to continue (currently at about 20,000 per year), the encyclopedia will continue to grow. As taxonomy finds new ways to include species discovered by molecular techniques, the rate of new additions will increase, particularly in respect to the microbial work of (eu)bacteria, archaebacteria and viruses.

EOL's goal is to serve as a resource for the general public, enthusiastic amateurs, educators, students and professional scientists from around the world.[2]

Resources and collaborations

The Encyclopedia of Life has content partners around the world who share information through the EOL platform,[13] including Wikipedia and Flickr.

Its interface is translated at translatewiki.net.

See also

References

  1. ^ "Eol.org Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2016-09-02.
  2. ^ a b "EOL History". Eol.org. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  3. ^ Odling-Smee, Lucy (2007-05-09). "Encyclopedia of Life launched". Nature. doi:10.1038/news070508-7. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  4. ^ "James Edwards - Encyclopedia of Life". Eol.org. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  5. ^ Zimmer, Carl (2008-02-26). "The Encyclopedia of Life, No Bookshelf Required". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-27.
  6. ^ "Life Encyclopedia Debut Too Popular to Stay "Live"". National Geographic. Associated Press. February 27, 2008. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  7. ^ "New Version of Encyclopedia of Life Now Available – Encyclopedia of Life". Eol.org. 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  8. ^ "TraitBank: Practical semantics for organism attribute data". Semantic-web-journal.net. 2014-03-28. Retrieved 2015-11-21.
  9. ^ "Scientists compile 'book of life'". BBC News. 2007-05-09. Retrieved 2007-05-09.
  10. ^ "Meet the Team: Executive Committee". EOL. 2012-02-28. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  11. ^ "Encyclopédie de la vie: Une arche de Noé virtuelle!". Radio-Canada. 9 May 2007. Retrieved 2009-05-12.
  12. ^ "New Version of the Encyclopedia of Life Now Available". Eol.org. 2011-09-05. Retrieved 2012-03-23.
  13. ^ "EOL Content Partners". Eol.org. Retrieved 2012-03-23.

External links

ARKive

ARKive was a global initiative with the mission of "promoting the conservation of the world's threatened species, through the power of wildlife imagery", which it did by locating and gathering films, photographs and audio recordings of the world's species into a centralised digital archive. Its priority was the completion of audio-visual profiles for the c. 17,000 species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.The project was an initiative of Wildscreen, a UK-registered educational charity, based in Bristol. The technical platform was created by Hewlett Packard, as part of the HP Labs' Digital Media Systems research programme.ARKive had the backing of leading conservation organisations, including BirdLife International, Conservation International, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), The United Nations' World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC), and the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), as well as leading academic and research institutions, such as the Natural History Museum; Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew; and the Smithsonian Institution. It was a member of the Institutional Council of the Encyclopedia of Life.Two ARKive layers for Google Earth, featuring endangered species and species in the Gulf of Mexico were produced by Google Earth Outreach. The first of these was launched in April 2008 by Wildscreen's Patron, Sir David Attenborough.The website closed on 15 February 2019; its collection of images and videos remains securely stored, in perpetuity.

Amphiprioninae

Clownfish or anemonefish are fishes from the subfamily Amphiprioninae in the family Pomacentridae. Thirty species are recognized: one in the genus Premnas, while the remaining are in the genus Amphiprion. In the wild, they all form symbiotic mutualisms with sea anemones. Depending on species, anemonefish are overall yellow, orange, or a reddish or blackish color, and many show white bars or patches. The largest can reach a length of 15–16 cm (5.9–6.3 in), while the smallest barely achieve 7–8 cm (2.8–3.1 in).

Aonyx

Aonyx is a genus of otters, containing only one species, the African clawless otter, and two well-known subspecies, the Cape clawless otter and the Cameroon clawless otter. Sometimes also the Oriental small-clawed otter, Amblonyx cinerea is counted in this genus.

The word aonyx means "clawless", derived from the prefix a- ("without") and onyx ("claw/hoof").

Catalogue of Life

The Catalogue of Life is an online database that provides the world’s most comprehensive and authoritative index of known species of animals, plants, fungi and micro-organisms. It was created in 2001 as a partnership between the global Species 2000 and the American Integrated Taxonomic Information System. The Catalogue interface is available in twelve languages and is used by research scientists, citizen scientists, educators, and policy makers. The Catalogue is also used by the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Barcode of Life Data System, Encyclopedia of Life, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. The Catalogue currently compiles data from 168 peer-reviewed taxonomic databases, that are maintained by specialist institutions around the world. As of 2018, the Catalogue lists 1,744,204 of the world's 2.2m extant species known to taxonomists on the planet at present time.

Eudicots

The eudicots, Eudicotidae or eudicotyledons are a clade of flowering plants that had been called tricolpates or non-magnoliid dicots by previous authors. The botanical terms were introduced in 1991 by evolutionary botanist James A. Doyle and paleobotanist Carol L. Hotton to emphasize the later evolutionary divergence of tricolpate dicots from earlier, less specialized, dicots. The close relationships among flowering plants with tricolpate pollen grains was initially seen in morphological studies of shared derived characters. These plants have a distinct trait in their pollen grains of exhibiting three colpi or grooves paralleling the polar axis. Later molecular evidence confirmed the genetic basis for the evolutionary relationships among flowering plants with tricolpate pollen grains and dicotyledonous traits. The term means "true dicotyledons", as it contains the majority of plants that have been considered dicots and have characteristics of the dicots. The term "eudicots" has subsequently been widely adopted in botany to refer to one of the two largest clades of angiosperms (constituting over 70% of the angiosperm species), monocots being the other. The remaining angiosperms include magnoliids and what are sometimes referred to as basal angiosperms or paleodicots, but these terms have not been widely or consistently adopted, as they do not refer to a monophyletic group.

The other name for the eudicots is tricolpates, a name which refers to the grooved structure of the pollen. Members of the group have tricolpate pollen, or forms derived from it. These pollens have three or more pores set in furrows called colpi. In contrast, most of the other seed plants (that is the gymnosperms, the monocots and the paleodicots) produce monosulcate pollen, with a single pore set in a differently oriented groove called the sulcus. The name "tricolpates" is preferred by some botanists to avoid confusion with the dicots, a nonmonophyletic group.Numerous familiar plants are eudicots, including many common food plants, trees, and ornamentals. Some common and familiar eudicots include members of the sunflower family such as the common dandelion, the forget-me-not, cabbage and other members of its family, apple, buttercup, maple, and macadamia. Most leafy trees of midlatitudes also belong to eudicots, with notable exceptions being magnolias and tulip trees which belong to magnoliids, and Ginkgo biloba, which is not an angiosperm.

The name "eudicots" (plural) is used in the APG system, of 1998, and APG II system, of 2003, for classification of angiosperms. It is applied to a clade, a monophyletic group, which includes most of the (former) dicots.

"Tricolpate" is a synonym for the "Eudicot" monophyletic group, the "true dicotyledons" (which are distinguished from all other flowering plants by their tricolpate pollen structure). The number of pollen grain furrows or pores helps classify the flowering plants, with eudicots having three colpi (tricolpate), and other groups having one sulcus.Pollen apertures are any modification of the wall of the pollen grain. These modifications include thinning, ridges and pores, they serve as an exit for the pollen contents and allow shrinking and swelling of the grain caused by changes in moisture content. The elongated apertures/ furrows in the pollen grain are called colpi (singular colpus), which, along with pores, are a chief criterion for identifying the pollen classes.

Flowering plant

The flowering plants, also known as angiosperms, Angiospermae or Magnoliophyta, are the most diverse group of land plants, with 416 families, approximately 13,164 known genera and c. 369,000 known species. Like gymnosperms, angiosperms are seed-producing plants. However, they are distinguished from gymnosperms by characteristics including flowers, endosperm within the seeds, and the production of fruits that contain the seeds. Etymologically, angiosperm means a plant that produces seeds within an enclosure; in other words, a fruiting plant. The term comes from the Greek words angeion ("case" or "casing") and sperma ("seed").

The ancestors of flowering plants diverged from gymnosperms in the Triassic Period, 245 to 202 million years ago (mya), and the first flowering plants are known from 160 mya. They diversified extensively during the Early Cretaceous, became widespread by 120 mya, and replaced conifers as the dominant trees from 100 to 60 mya.

Global Biodiversity Information Facility

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is an international organisation that focuses on making scientific data on biodiversity available via the Internet using web services. The data are provided by many institutions from around the world; GBIF's information architecture makes these data accessible and searchable through a single portal. Data available through the GBIF portal are primarily distribution data on plants, animals, fungi, and microbes for the world, and scientific names data.

The mission of the Global Biodiversity information Facility (GBIF) is to facilitate free and open access to biodiversity data worldwide to underpin sustainable development. Priorities, with an emphasis on promoting participation and working through partners, include mobilising biodiversity data, developing protocols and standards to ensure scientific integrity and interoperability, building an informatics architecture to allow the interlinking of diverse data types from disparate sources, promoting capacity building and catalysing development of analytical tools for improved decision-making.

GBIF strives to form informatics linkages among digital data resources from across the spectrum of biological organisation, from genes to ecosystems, and to connect these to issues important to science, society and sustainability by using georeferencing and GIS tools. It works in partnership with other international organisations such as the Catalogue of Life partnership, Biodiversity Information Standards, the Consortium for the Barcode of Life (CBOL), the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), and GEOSS.

From 2002-2014, GBIF awarded a prestigious global award in the area of biodiversity informatics, the Ebbe Nielsen Prize, valued at €30,000 annually. As at 2018, the GBIF Secretariat currently presents two annual prizes: the GBIF Ebbe Nielsen Challenge and the Young Researchers Award.

Hallucinogenic fish

Several species of fish are claimed to produce hallucinogenic effects when consumed. For example, Sarpa salpa, a species of sea bream, is commonly claimed to be hallucinogenic. These widely distributed coastal fish are normally found in the Mediterranean and around Spain, and along the west and south coasts of Africa. Occasionally they are found in British waters. They may induce hallucinogenic effects that are purportedly LSD-like if eaten. In 2006, two men who apparently ate the fish experienced hallucinations lasting for several days. The likelihood of hallucinations depends on the season. Sarpa salpa is known as "the fish that makes dreams" in Arabic.Other species claimed to be capable of producing hallucinations include several species of sea chub from the genus Kyphosus. It is unclear whether the toxins are produced by the fish themselves or by marine algae in their diet. Other hallucinogenic fish are Siganus spinus, called "the fish that inebriates" in Reunion Island, and Mulloidichthys flavolineatus (formerly Mulloidichthys samoensis), called "the chief of ghosts" in Hawaii.

Integrated Taxonomic Information System

The Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) is an American partnership of federal agencies designed to provide consistent and reliable information on the taxonomy of biological species. ITIS was originally formed in 1996 as an interagency group within the US federal government, involving several US federal agencies, and has now become an international body, with Canadian and Mexican government agencies participating. The database draws from a large community of taxonomic experts. Primary content staff are housed at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History and IT services are provided by a US Geological Survey facility in Denver. The primary focus of ITIS is North American species, but many biological groups exist worldwide and ITIS collaborates with other agencies to increase its global coverage.

Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera

The Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera (IRMNG) is a taxonomic database containing the scientific names of the genus, species, and higher ranks of many plants, animals and other kingdoms, both living and extinct, within a standardized taxonomic hierarchy, with associated machine-readable information on habitat (e.g. marine/nonmarine) and extant/fossil status for the majority of entries. The database aspires to provide complete coverage of accepted genus names across all kingdoms, with a subset only of species names included as a lower priority. As of December 2018, the number of names at all ranks reported by IRMNG to be included in the database was 2,299,581, of which 361,728 were listed as accepted genera, with a further 127,357 unaccepted genus names as at March 2018. The data originate from a range of (frequently domain-specific) print, online and database sources, and are reorganised into a common data structure to support a variety of online queries, generation of individual taxon pages, and bulk data supply to other biodiversity informatics projects. IRMNG content can be queried and displayed freely via the web, and download files of the data down to the taxonomic rank of genus as at specific dates are available in the Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) format.The data include homonyms (with their authorities), including both available (validly published) and selected unavailable names.IRMNG was initiated in 2006 by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) Australia at CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, and since has been hosted by the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) since 2016. VLIZ also hosts the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), using a common infrastructure.Content from IRMNG is used by several global Biodiversity Informatics projects including Open Tree of Life, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), and the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), in addition to others including the Atlas of Living Australia and the Global Names Architecture (GNA)'s Global Names Resolver. From 2018 onwards, IRMNG data are also being used to populate the taxonomic hierarchy and provide generic names for a range of taxa in the areas of protists (kingdoms Protozoa and Chromista) and plant algae (Charophyta, Chlorophyta, Glaucophyta and Rhodophyta) in the Catalogue of Life.IRMNG was initiated and designed by Tony Rees. For his work on this and other projects, GBIF awarded him the 2014 Ebbe Nielsen Prize. The citation said, in part:

IRMNG in particular has been a tool of enormous importance to GBIF and others in supplying much of the detail for a global taxonomic classification of all life and as high-value taxon trait data in a form which can readily be reused in data validation and to enhance species pages.

IRMNG is now managed and curated by Rees, with assistance from the VLIZ team.

Lycaenidae

Lycaenidae is the second-largest family of butterflies (behind Nymphalidae, brush-footed butterflies), with over 6,000 species worldwide, whose members are also called gossamer-winged butterflies. They constitute about 30% of the known butterfly species.

The family is traditionally divided into the subfamilies of the blues (Polyommatinae), the coppers (Lycaeninae), the hairstreaks (Theclinae) and the harvesters (Miletinae).

Adults are small, under 5 cm usually, and brightly coloured, sometimes with a metallic gloss.

Larvae are often flattened rather than cylindrical, with glands that may produce secretions that attract and subdue ants. Their cuticles tend to be thickened. Some larvae are capable of producing vibrations and low sounds that are transmitted through the substrates they inhabit. They use these sounds to communicate with ants.Adult individuals often have hairy antenna-like tails complete with black and white annulated (ringed) appearance. Many species also have a spot at the base of the tail and some turn around upon landing to confuse potential predators from recognizing the true head orientation. This causes predators to approach from the true head end resulting in early visual detection.

Monkey

Monkey is a common name that may refer to groups or species of mammals, in part, the simians of infraorder Simiiformes. The term is applied descriptively to groups of primates, such as families of new world monkeys and old world monkeys, yet can exclude the hominoids, also referred to as apes. Many monkey species are tree-dwelling (arboreal), although there are species that live primarily on the ground, such as baboons. Most species are also active during the day (diurnal). Monkeys are generally considered to be intelligent, especially the old world monkeys of Catarrhini.

Simians and tarsiers emerged within haplorrhines some 60 million years ago. New World monkeys and catarrhine monkeys emerged within the simians some 35 million years ago. Old World monkeys and Hominoidea emerged within the catarrhine monkeys some 25 million years ago. Extinct basal simians such as Aegyptopithecus or Parapithecus [35-32 million years ago], eosimiidea and sometimes even the Catarrhini group are also considered monkeys by primatologists.Lemurs, lorises, and galagos are not monkeys; instead they are strepsirrhine primates. Like monkeys, tarsiers are haplorhine primates; however, they are also not monkeys.

Apes emerged within the catarrhines with the Old World monkeys as a sister group, so cladistically they are monkeys as well. Traditionally apes were not considered monkeys, rendering this grouping paraphyletic.

Plazi

Plazi is a Swiss-based international non-profit association supporting and promoting the development of persistent and openly accessible digital bio-taxonomic literature. Plazi is maintaining a digital taxonomic literature repository to enable archiving of taxonomic treatments, enhances submitted taxonomic treatments by creating version in the XML formats TaxonX

and Taxpub, and educates about the importance of maintaining open access to scientific discourse and data. It is a contributor to the evolving e-taxonomy in the field of Biodiversity Informatics.The approach was originally developed in a binational National Science Foundation (NSF) and

German Research Foundation (DFG) digital library program to the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Karlsruhe, respectively, to create an XML schema modeling the content of bio-systematic literature. The TaxonX schema is applied to legacy publications using GoldenGATE, a semiautomatic editor. In its current state GoldenGATE is a complex mark up tool allowing community involvement in the process of rendering documents into semantically enhanced documents.

Plazi developed ways to make distribution records in published taxonomic literature accessible through a TAPIR service that is harvested by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). Similarly, the Species Page Model (SPM) transfer schema has been implemented to allow harvesting of treatments (the scientific descriptions of species and higher taxa) by third parties such as the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL). If available, the treatments are enhanced with links to external databases such as GenBank, The Hymenoptera Name Server for scientific names or ZooBank, the registry of zoological names.

Plazi claims it adheres to copyright law and argues that taxonomic treatments do not qualify as literary and artistic work. Plazi claims that such works are therefore in the public domain and can be freely used and disseminated (with scientific practice requiring appropriate citation).

Spiruroidea

Spiruroidea is a superfamily of Spirurida.They are nematodes.

True parrot

The true parrots are about 350 species of colorful flighted (with a few notable exceptions) hook-billed, mostly herbivorous birds forming the superfamily Psittacoidea, one of the three superfamilies in the biological order Psittaciformes (parrots). True parrots are widespread, with species in Mexico, Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, India, Southeast Asia, Australia, and eastwards across the Pacific Ocean as far as Polynesia. The true parrots include many of the familiar parrots including macaws, conures, lorikeets, eclectus, Amazon parrots, grey parrot, and budgerigar.

Truong Son muntjac

The Truong Son muntjac or Annamite muntjac (Muntiacus truongsonensis) is a species of muntjac deer. It is one of the smallest muntjac species, at about 15 kg, half the size of the Indian muntjac (or common muntjac). It was discovered in the Truong Son mountain range in Vietnam in 1997.

It was identified by examination of skulls and descriptions provided by villagers, who call it samsoi cacoong, or "the deer that lives in the deep, thick forest." It lives at altitudes of 400–1000 metres, where its small size allows it to move through dense undergrowth.

Vaccinium

Vaccinium is a common and widespread genus of shrubs or dwarf shrubs in the heath family (Ericaceae). The fruits of many species are eaten by humans and some are of commercial importance, including the cranberry, blueberry, bilberry (whortleberry), lingonberry (cowberry), and huckleberry. Like many other ericaceous plants, they are generally restricted to acidic soils.

Walnut

A walnut is the nut of any tree of the genus Juglans (Family Juglandaceae), particularly the Persian or English walnut, Juglans regia.

Technically a walnut is the seed of a drupe or drupaceous nut and thus not a true botanical nut. It is used for food after being processed, while green for pickled walnuts or after full ripening for its nutmeat. Nutmeat of the eastern black walnut from the Juglans nigra is less commercially available, as are butternut nutmeats from Juglans cinerea. The walnut is nutrient-dense with protein and essential fatty acids.

ZooKeys

ZooKeys is a peer-reviewed open access scientific journal covering zoological taxonomy, phylogeny, and biogeography. It was established in 2008 and the editor-in-chief is Terry Erwin (Smithsonian Institution). It is published by Pensoft Publishers.

ZooKeys provides all new taxa to the Encyclopedia of Life on the day of publication.

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