I came across this website while reading one of my magazines, OnEarth, recently and it seems really interesting. The website is called Encyclopedia of Life and was first conceived in 2003 by E.O. Wilson, arguable one of the greatest naturalists of our time.
The goal of the site is to “grant each of the documented 1.8 million species on earth a page featuring a detailed summary of everything known about it: it’s scientific name, habitat and geographic range and distribution, what it eats and is eaten by, and where it is found in the evolutionary tree of life.” So far there are around 170,000 pages set up so it’s coming along.
One of the neatest things about this site (besides great information that we can get on our local Loudoun species) is how it pulls together the pages. There isn’t some poor webmaster sitting there typing all these different pages. Instead, it uses automated indexing similar to how Google functions, to pull in web pages into a standardized format, enabling standalone databases around the world to talk to each other and extract the data. Pretty cool.
Anyway, I wanted to share this with you in case you hadn’t come across it yet since it’s such a good resource as we learn about our local Loudoun wildlife and their habitats.