The interactive tree of life explorer OneZoom maps the connections between 2.2 million residing species, the closest factor but to a single view of all species identified to science. It permits customers to zoom in to any species and discover its relationships with others, in a seamless visualization on a single net web page. It additionally contains photos of over 85,000 species, plus, the place identified, their vulnerability to extinction.
Described in a paper within the journal Methods in Ecology and Evolution, OneZoom was developed by Dr. James Rosindell of Imperial College London and Dr. Yan Wong from the Big Data Institute on the University of Oxford.
“By developing new algorithms for visualization and data processing, and combining them with ‘big data’ gathered from multiple sources, we’ve created something beautiful,” Dr. Wong stated.
“It allows people to find their favorite living things, be they golden moles or giant sequoias, and see how evolutionary history connects them together to create a giant tree of all life on Earth.”
“We have worked hard to make the tree easy to explore for everyone, and we also hope to send a powerful message: that much of our biodiversity is under threat,” Dr. Rosindell stated.
The ‘leaves’ representing every species on the tree are colour coded relying on their danger of extinction: inexperienced for not threatened, purple for threatened, and black for just lately extinct.
However, many of the leaves on the tree are grey, that means they haven’t been evaluated, or scientists don’t have sufficient knowledge to know their extinction danger.
Even among the many species described by science, solely a tiny fraction have been studied or have a identified danger of extinction.
“It’s extraordinary how much research there is still to be done,” Dr. Wong stated.
“Building the OneZoom tree of life was only possible through sophisticated methods to gather and combine existing data — it would have been impossible to curate all this by hand.”
The OneZoom explorer is configured to work with touchscreens, and the builders have made the software program free to obtain and use by academic organizations comparable to museums and zoos.
“Two million species can feel like a number too big to visualize, and no museum or zoo can hold all of them!” Dr. Rosindell stated.
“But our tool can help represent all Earth’s species and allow visitors to connect with their plight.”
“We hope that now this project is complete and available, many venues will be interested in using it to complement their existing displays.”
The researchers additionally arrange a OneZoom charity with the intention of utilizing their tree of life to advance the schooling of the general public within the topics of evolution, biodiversity and conservation of the number of life on Earth.
Uniquely, to assist this charity, every leaf on the tree is obtainable for sponsorship, permitting anybody to ‘adopt’ a species and enabling OneZoom to proceed their mission.
The group additionally built-in the tree with knowledge from the Wikipedia undertaking to disclose the ‘popularity’ of each species, primarily based on how typically their Wikipedia web page is considered.
“Perhaps unsurprisingly, humans come out on top, but it has swapped places a few times with the second most popular: the gray wolf — the ‘species’ that includes all domestic dogs,” Dr. Wong stated.
Yan Wong & James Rosindell. Dynamic visualisation of million-tip timber: The OneZoom undertaking. Methods in Ecology and Evolution, revealed on-line December 13, 2021; doi: 10.1111/2041-210X.13766