Massive database of species goes online
An online Encyclopedia of Life that aims to eventually include every living organism on the planet has unveiled its first detailed pages. Read up on the 24 species that have entries complete with text, pictures, and video, or sift through 30,000 others with preliminary information. Those involved with the encyclopedia, which got its start from a 2003 paper written by famed biologist E.O. Wilson, hope it will help researchers assess climate change impacts, endangered species, and the spread of invasives, as well as simply raising awareness of biodiversity. If the project doesn’t collapse under its own ambition, like similar endeavors that have gone before, compilers hope the remaining 1.77 million pages will be up by 2017. Of course, the work won’t stop then: Scientists estimate that known organisms comprise only one-tenth of actual species on earth.