Encyclopedia of Life, 6-12

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) has a mission to describe all the 1.8 million known species from apples to zebras, within a decade and help provide research into aging, climate change and even the spread of insect pests. EOL is a collaborative global effort involving natural history museums, research institutions, botanical gardens, and many highly dedicated individuals.

Anyone can use the EOL as a "field guide" or contribute a photograph or an observation of an animal in an area where it was not found before, in some cases a sign of a changing climate. Already the Encyclopedia was aiding scientists who look at human aging, for instance, by examining the widely differing lifespans of related species. The EOL said it would help "public recognition and awareness of invasive species through detailed descriptions and maps, helping to slow their global spread and enable more rapid and effective remedial measures." And the EOL was trying to help researchers find out how global warming may affect species, such as by making them move to cooler habitats.

The number of entries has just reached 170,000 and, if current funding holds, the project is estimated to be completed in approximately 2019.