AboutZoos, Since 2008


Map of Life goes live .….

pub­lished 17 May 2012 | mod­i­fied 17 May 2012

An inter­ac­tive resource for global bio­di­ver­sity analy­sis — launches today, promis­ing a new era in the visu­al­iza­tion of species distributions.

On first glance, Map of Life may seem just one more in the dozens of bio­di­ver­sity data­bases online, but it has a novel capa­bil­ity — a web-​mapping tool that inte­grates dis­parate data types, from single-​occurrence records in museum col­lec­tions to expert-​derived ranges found in field guides.

Still in its infancy the demo release of Map of Life will focus on ter­res­trial ver­te­brate and fish species. It com­prises data from the Global Bio­di­ver­sity Infor­ma­tion Facil­ity, expert range maps from the Inter­na­tional Union for Con­ser­va­tion of Nature, and regional presence/​absence check­lists from the World Wildlife Fund, as well as data from a few indi­vid­ual sci­en­tists’ databases.

Map of Life will soon allow users to add or update species data, thereby becom­ing the first two-​way por­tal of bio­di­ver­sity information.

Map of Life is more than a sum of its parts; what’s trans­for­ma­tional is that these dif­fer­ent data types cross-​inform each other and help us piece together the most trans­par­ent, robust rep­re­sen­ta­tions of species dis­tri­b­u­tion yet achieved
co-​creator Wal­ter Jetz, con­ser­va­tion biol­o­gist at Yale Uni­ver­sity »
The tool grew out of Jetz’s own need to com­bine his data with exist­ing data sets to best under­stand how bird bio­di­ver­sity pat­terns could inform con­ser­va­tion efforts. But stitch­ing together all the records takes up an enor­mous amount of time. “I remem­ber think­ing ‘This is silly. I’m doing this on my own, know­ing oth­ers are doing it too’,” he says. He and his col­leagues decided to share the tools they were devel­op­ing and make the process dynamic by allow­ing users to improve the species-​distribution data.

The demo ver­sion has two main fea­tures. Users can search for a species name to see a map of all the species-​distribution records, and can gen­er­ate a species list of all the ani­mals recorded within 501,000 kilo­me­tres of a spe­cific spot on the planet.

Map of Life still faces a major hur­dle — gain­ing trac­tion in bio­di­ver­sity cir­cles. For the site to have wide­spread util­ity it will require much more data, but unless users are con­vinced of the site’s use­ful­ness, they may not take the time to con­tribute their own data. It is expected that the Wikipedia-​style approach, allow­ing the com­mu­nity to improve data, will pro­vide users this confidence.

The above news item is reprinted from mate­ri­als avail­able at Nature. Orig­i­nal text is edited for con­tent and length to meet the journal’s require­ments about per­mis­sions for reuse.

(Source: Nature, 10.05.2012)

UN Biodiversity decade
WWF Stop Wildlife Crime
Fight for Flight campaign
End Ivory-funded Terrorism
Support Rewilding Europe
NASA State of Flux

Goal: 7000 tigers in the wild

Tiger range countries map

Tiger map” (CC BY 2.5) by Sander­son et al., 2006.

about zoos and their mis­sion regard­ing breed­ing endan­gered species, nature con­ser­va­tion, bio­di­ver­sity and edu­ca­tion, which of course relates to the evo­lu­tion of species.
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