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10 May 2012: New Interactive Web site
Maps Distribution of Global Species

U.S. scientists this week unveiled a new online resource that maps the distribution of species worldwide and will ultimately allow users to update or add species data. The so-called “Map of Life” project — which
Map of Life Biodiversity
Map of Life
The “Map of Life”
draws on millions of known locations of various species, expert range maps, World Wildlife Fund data, and the databases of individual scientists — allows users to view distribution records for any terrestrial vertebrate species or fish worldwide, and generate a listing of all species within a 50- to 1,000-kilometer range. An updated version of the site, expected later this year, will include data on plants, trees, and selected invertebrate groups. Ultimately, users will be able to flag and edit data, update their own datasets, and provide feedback on the data. “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,” said Walter Jetz, a conservation biologist at Yale University and co-creator of the site. The project, which is funded in part by the U.S. National Science Foundation, is described online in the journal Trends in Ecology & Evolution.


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