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World's leading scientists announce creation of 'Encyclopedia of Life'

Many of the worlds leading scientific institutions today announced the launch of the Encyclopedia of Life, an unprecedented global effort to document all 1.8 million named species of animals, plants, and other forms of life on Earth. For the first time in the history of the planet, scientists, students, and citizens would have multi-media access to all known living species, even those that have just been discovered.

The Field Museum, Harvard University, Marine Biological Laboratory (Woods Hole), Smithsonian Institution, and Biodiversity Heritage Library joined together to initiate the project, bringing together species and software experts from across the world. The Missouri Botanical Garden has become a full partner, and discussions are taking place this week with leaders of the new Atlas of Living Australia. The Encyclopedia today also announced the initial membership of its Institutional Council, which spans the globe, and whose members will play key roles in realizing this immense project. An international advisory board of distinguished individuals will also help guide the Encyclopedia.

The effort is spurred by a $10 million grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation and $2.5 million from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and will ultimately serve as a global beacon for biodiversity and conservation.

"The Encyclopedia of Life will provide valuable biodiversity and conservation information to anyone, anywhere, at any time," said Dr. James Edwards, currently Executive Secretary of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility who today was officially named Executive Director of the Encyclopedia of Life. "Through collaboration, we all can increase our appreciation of the immense variety of life, the challenges to it, and ways to conserve biodiversity. The Encyclopedia of Life will ultimately make high-quality, well-organized information available on an unprecedented level. Even five years ago, we could not crea
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Encyclopedia of Life
8-May-2007


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