Definition

Catalogue of Life

Part of the Database glossary:

The Catalogue of Life project is an international initiative intended to catalog every life form on the planet according to a standardized taxonomy and to organize that information into a comprehensive and universally accessible database system. As of 2001, the project estimated that the planet was home to 1.75 million known species of plants, animals, fungi, and microorganisms. The project is being conducted as a joint effort of North America's Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS), and two international organizations, the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and Species 2000, along with input from a variety of other contributors. Project organizers hope to achieve their goals by 2011, after which they expect to update the information annually.

To begin with, the project will only attempt to get each species' scientific name online. However, organizers hope that, in time, they will record a great deal more information. According to Pamela Harling, a spokesperson for Species 2000, "Eventually we will have the species' distribution, images of it, genetic information, other names it is called by, common names used in different languages, life cycle information, and more."

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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