Oct 24

(New and Improved!) Memory Game from the Encyclopedia of Life


This is the classic game of Memory - remember where you saw a species and try to find its match! There is also a quiz that challenges you to match species names with the pictures. 

Try one of our memory games by visiting this site and looking under “Featured Games”. You don’t need to login to play, simply click on a game icon. To create your own Memory Game, you will need to create a login and password.

You’ll see some changes with the latest update to Memory. In addition to speed improvements, you can now also play against Elephas, the computer with a good memory. Good luck!

Note: EOL Memory works best in Google Chrome, Firefox and Safari internet browsers

Oct 22

EOL by the Numbers

In the recent NESCent Research Sprint Call for Proposals we invited  biologists to think of questions that EOL and BHL could help answer.  We’ll provide an informatician to extract and integrate the data that are needed. Some fantastic ideas have already been suggested by Rod Page in his iPhylo post.

To help you come up with do-able, interesting, big data questions, here is a snapshot as of early October 2013 of what we have on EOL. Some numbers are rounded to the nearest 1000. Also see our daily statistics for more information and feel free to ask questions in the EOL Forum.

3.6 million taxon pages (aka taxon concepts):

Of these 3.6 million pages, 1,368,301 pages have some content associated with them.  The balance are pages with a name, but no content…yet.

These pages represent the aggregation and reconciliation of:

31.8 million name usages provided to EOL by its partners (name-taxon-source combinations) of which…

From 19 taxonomic hierarchy providers available via the API, as well as 
250+ other taxonomic sources we’ve mapped across 

EOL has:

6 million data objects

also 30,000 sounds and 10,000 videos

For your text-mining pleasure, EOL’s text objects are distributed across the following top 6 subjects:


Early next year we’ll introduce support for structured data.  So far we have:

21 trait datasets

268,000 taxa with some trait data

170 types of traits (including types of relations between taxa)

2.8 million trait data records

Common trait types include:

Beta testing for these new features starts Monday, October 28, 2013. If you would like to be a beta tester, please email us at tech@eol.org to sign up. If you know of a great dataset of traits that is freely shareable, please let us know!

Questions about the NESCent-EOL-BHL Research Sprint? Contact Cyndy Parr or Craig McClain.

Oct 21

New One Species at a Time Podcast: Honey Bees

Image Credit:Treesha Duncan, Flickr: EOL Images. CC BY

In this podcast, we venture into a cloud of honey bees to learn about the unique way one bee scientist is managing to help bees and fund his research at the same time.

Listen to the podcast

Learn more about Honey Bees on EOL

Oct 17


Thick-tailed Gecko Underwoodisaurus milii.
Also known as a Barking Gecko.
Jaurdi, Western Australia


Thick-tailed Gecko Underwoodisaurus milii.

Also known as a Barking Gecko.

Jaurdi, Western Australia

New One Species at a Time Podcast: Bats

The batman of Mexico has his own bat-cave. He just shares it with 4,000 Mexican long-nosed bats. In this episode, join researcher Rodrigo Medellin as he descends into the Devil’s Cave just north of Mexico City. It’s a journey that started decades ago when Medellin was on a game show as a boy. He lost the game show, but won a prize far more valuable—for himself, his students, and Mexico’s bats. Ari Daniel Shapiro reports from Tepoztlán.

Listen to the podcast

Learn more about bat diversity on EOL

The Global Biodiversity Informatics Outlook

The recently released Global Biodiversity Informatics Outlook (GBIO) proposes a framework for work to be done in the next five to ten years by projects such as EOL. It is the main product produced from the 2012 Global Biodiversity Informatics Conference held in Copenhagen.

Some will argue that we don’t need another acronym — certainly we already have plenty! The important thing is for future investments in biodiversity informatics to have the most impact. A visionary document like the GBIO helps funders, tool builders and data providers most efficiently provide the data and knowledge that consumers need.

Encyclopedia of Life aims to play an essential role in several of GBIO’s interconnected components. Like many projects, we provide comprehensive knowledge access and promote a culture of open access and reuse.  We are serious about increasing data accuracy via a biodiversity knowledge network; most EOL curation actions and community-generated annotations are already routed to providers of source data. With the upcoming release of Traitbank(TM) we aim to be a premier provider of aggregated species trait data.

EOL also serves secondary roles in the rapid capture and dissemination of collections and specimen data (e.g. the National Museum of Natural history specimen images). We are exploring how best to mine published materials (see Rubenstein projects and the upcoming Research Sprint). Finally, EOL can contribute to an overall taxonomic framework

There is still much work to be done. Watch for future blog posts on these topics, and visit http://biodiversityinformatics.org for more information on how you can get involved.

Sep 12

New EOL Mobile App and Game for iPad and Android Tablets

Introducing M-EOL, a new mobile app for iPad and Android tablets and the winner of the EOL Education Innovation Challenge! Created by Natural Solutions and available on iTunes and Google Play.

Become an explorer, discovering different plant and animal species by travelling around the world. Improve your knowledge about each species through descriptions, images, distribution information, and conservation status from the Encyclopedia of Life website. Explore how organisms in each game collection are related to each other by browsing a dynamic, interactive graph. 

M-EOL App on iTunes

M-EOL App on Google Play

Let us know what you think of M-EOL! Send your feedback to education (at) eol.org.


Sep 06

Update on the EOL Private Beta program

I’m happy to report that the private beta for the EOL release codenamed Bocce began yesterday without a hiccup - if you accepted an invitation to participate, you will have received a detailed email from us yesterday with instructions on how to access the beta platform, credentials for logging in, a list of tasks to perform, and guidance on how to access the post-beta survey.

If you did not receive your beta instructions, drop me a note.  We want your feedback.

It’s fair to say we’re all a bit excited about this release.  It’s different than anything we’ve done before, and I think it has the possibility to change the world.  I don’t get to say that about everything we do, but this time, we’re on to something big.

The private beta will run for the next two weeks, then we will hunker down, digest the feedback, tune up what needs tuning up, push some final features, then ramp up for a public beta coming later this fall.

Stay tuned.

Sep 05

New One Species at a Time Podcast: New Species in the Old World

Image Credit: Ari Daniel Shapiro

You don’t always have to venture into the heart of a rain forest to discover a new species. Sometimes all you have to do is look more closely, right where you are. In Europe, experts and enthusiasts alike are looking high and low, from alpine meadows to underground caves, in search of Old World species new to science.

Listen to the podcast

Aug 15

Newly described species of mammal!

Olinguito (Bassaricyon neblina) at Tandayapa Bird Lodge, Ecuador. © Mark Gurney, CC-BY

Meet the olinguito, Bassaricyon neblina, the first new species of carnivore found in the Western Hemisphere in 35 years!

The olinguito lives in high elevation Andean cloud forests of Colombia and Ecuador. It spends most of its time high up in trees and is active at night. 

Specimens had been in museum cabinets for more than a century, but Smithsonian researchers confirmed its status as a distinct species only recently.  

Read more about the discovery on the Smithsonian Science website.