With the coming of spring here in DC the streets are full of spring-breakers enjoying the sights - and today, even a bit of warm weather for a change. The famous Cherry Blossoms are expected to “peak” between from April 3 to April 6, so if you’re planning on stopping by, it’s time to make plans.
At EOL we’ve got a number of projects early in their blooming season, courtesy of the Rubenstein Research Fellows and the Computable Data Challenge awardees. As EOL works to provide support for researchers and public participation in science, projects like these are leading the way.
Speaking of seasons, we’re coming up on a few important milestones - our spring Executive Committee call, a briefing of our scientific advisory group related to EOL’s growing support for “computable data”, and continued progress with updates to our field guide tools.
And if you’ve been paying attention, EOL is creeping up on having 1.3 million taxon pages with content. As much as I talk about this being a marathon and not a sprint, it’s very satisfying to see the progress we’ve made establishing a strong footprint of coverage in EOL. The challenge now is to continue to build depth and variety. Well, one of the challenges.
Two more items for you today:
1. The EOL Learning & Education Group at Harvard, in cooperation with their partners at Atlantic Public Media, continue to release OUTSTANDING podcasts. You can subscribe to them at iTunes - make sure to listen to the latest episode on the Bowhead Whale.
2. The soft launch of the new EOL Magazine on Flipboard has illustrated some of the strengths and challenges of the medium, but mostly the strengths - Flipboard is a beautiful and fun way to share knowledge about life on Earth with all of you. To learn more visit this link.
Please feel free to drop us a line via the blog if you’d like to get in touch and chat about ideas, about content, about software, whatever.
bob corrigan | eol
Follow EOL on Flipboard!
Team EOL is happy to announce that we’re taking advantage of some of the new capabilities of Flipboard to offer a custom Encyclopedia of Life Magazine there. We are looking forward to hearing what you think of it.
To learn more, and for information about how to get your own (free) copy of the Flipboard app for iOS and Android devices, please visit this link.
Crawfish: A One Species at a Time Podcast
For centuries, human commerce has played a role in distributing plant and animal species around the globe. But not every species can claim the title of circumnavigator. In this week’s episode, Ari Daniel Shapiro journeys to the Gulf Coast of the U.S. to meet a tiny Magellan, the star of an unlikely story that has come full circle.
Listen to Podcast
Subscribe to the One Species at a Time Podcast on Apple iTunes
To learn more about how to use EOL’s One Species at a Time podcasts in the classroom and in broadcast media, please see our Podcast Guide for Educatorsor contact the EOL Learning & Education group.
Public Domain photo from Wikimedia Commons (source)
Interested in sharing your nature recordings with EOL?
Here are 5 Easy Steps on how to setup your SoundCloud recordings so they can be shared with the Encyclopedia of Life at eol.org
Step 1: Provide the taxon name either as a tag or pasted in the description section of your audio record.
Example: “taxonomy:binomial=Anarhichas lupus”
(the quotes are needed to help SoundCloud identify the entire name as a tag, not each element of the name)
Step 2: Under the License section, you must choose one of these four Creative Commons licenses:
NOTE - Please Do Not Choose/Click ‘No Derivative Works’ as a license option- this will prevent your sound from being included in EOL.
Step 3: Under Settings section. Choose/click ‘Public’. Do not choose ‘Private’.
Step 4: Under ‘Advanced settings’ section, be sure to ‘enable downloads’.
Step 5: Become a member of the EOL SoundCloud group
If you’ve done everything correctly your sounds will be harvested by EOL and will show up on the Media tab of the taxon page associated with the sound you’ve uploaded. See an example.
View the SoundCloud content collection on EOL
View the EOL Group on SoundCloud
I’m interested in bringing a marketing intern into EOL to help us with some exciting new projects. If you know of anyone who could join us at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History for a few months this year, let me know by sending an email to bcorrigan at eol dot org.
We are delighted to welcome our newest content partner, The Freshwater and Marine Image Bank, presented by the University of Washington Libraries. The more than 21,000 images were taken from a variety of publications issued between 1735 and 1924. The scholarly can find the full reference from which an image originated on the object page under Source information. See the full collection on EOL.
Happy World Oceans Day from EOL!
Celebrate oceans today by getting to know EOL collaborators around the world working on diverse marine research projects -
Students from the Marine Biodiversity and Conservation SEA semester program will be sharing data collected during their voyage with EOL via several of our marine content partners. Follow their progress via blog posts from the high seas.
We also look forward to welcoming the Plankton Chronicles video and photo gallery as a content partner, courtesy of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique and EOL Rubenstein Fellow Christian Sardet. The Plankton Chronicles project reveals the beauty and diversity of planktonic organisms. It is done in the context of the Tara Ocean expedition and the Villefranche sur Mer Marine Station. The schooner Tara recently completed her 30 months long exploration of plankton and returned to port in France. Her crew collected plankton in 150 well characterized locations for analysis using imaging and genomics. It yielded a trove of photographs and footage of marine life from all around the world.
Finally, get to know Sedna IV, an oceanographic schooner. On April 18, 2012, the Sedna IV, in partnership with the Secretariat of the UN Convention on Biodiversity, set off on one of the most important scientific and filmmaking expeditions of modern times: 1000 Days for the Planet. The crew of mariners, scientists, and filmmakers are sailing around the world to reveal our planet’s extraordinary beauty, to understand how our ecosystems work, and to ponder the great conservation challenges that face us all.
Read how the Sedna IV crew is celebrating World Ocean Day, and look forward to French-language species descriptions on EOL from members of the team.
Good news everyone: the EOL Computable Data Challenge deadline for entries has been extended to Thursday, May 31, 2012.
We invite ideas for scientific research projects that use Encyclopedia of Life http://www.eol.org, including the Biodiversity Heritage Library (BHL, http://biodiversitylibrary.org), to answer questions in biology. EOL and BHL have assembled text and multimedia about more than a million taxa from more than two hundred organismal databases and 38 million digitized pages of biodiversity literature. Everything is in the public domain or available for text mining and re-use under explicit Creative Commons licenses.
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, May 21, 2012 - “Nature’s Toolbox: Biodiversity, Art,
and Invention,” a new traveling contemporary art exhibition, opens at Chicago’s Field Museum May 22. Harnessing technology and inspired by nature’s amazing design
concepts, the show’s innovative, eye-capturing art helps visitors understand and
appreciate the life-or-death interdependence between the 10-20 million species on earth – including humans – and the quality of the environment we share.
“Many people still don’t realize how much our very lives depend on the
biodiversity of plants, animals, and everything else,” says Randy Jayne Rosenberg, Curator of the show and Executive Director of Art Works For Change, which developed and manages it. Indeed, some ecologists predict that half of all mammals and birds could be extinct within the next century, with similar losses in plants, marine life, and other species – entire ecosystems, in fact. Each loss carries with it lost benefits to human well-being because of the key roles these species play in providing such things as clean air and water, pollination, and climate regulation.
The purpose of the exhibition is to show that humans aren’t just part of the
problem but also the solution: by harnessing nature’s most brilliant ideas, we can improve the quality of human life while living in harmony with nature.
In “Nature’s Toolbox”, which features artworks from artists around the world
across a wide range of media, Rosenberg asked artists to use nature’s wisdom as the inspiration for new artworks. “They explored its genius and found opportunities for invention by employing the lessons nature offers,” she says. “We learn, for example, how by mimicking nature we can harness energy from algae, create fabric with the strength of a spider’s web, self-medicate like a chimp, create amphibian cities with the structure of a lilypad, and build walls made from sugar.”
The show brings viewers a fresh perspective on the relationship between everyday activities and biodiversity, such as Donna Ozawa’s Waribashi Project, an impressive display constructed of 90,000 waribashi, or disposable chopsticks. Every year hundreds of billions of waribashi are thrown away after just a single use, contributing to deforestation, one of the largest contributors to the loss of species.
Unique works such as Green Porno, a series of short films by actress Isabella
Rossellini on animal sexual behaviors, offer fascinating scientific insight along with a big dose of humor. The exhibition also features Charles Lee’s Dissipative System, a wall of touchable tiles that change color in response to heat – mimicking the color, humidity, and temperature changes in the exoskeleton of a Hercules beetle.
Awareness is the first critical step in changing our individual and collective
outlook from one that exploits nature to one that nurtures it, points out Rosenberg. Art builds awareness by helping us visualize our complex relationship to the natural world.
“Science provides facts while art tells stories,” she says, adding. “The need for
environmental stories has never been greater – people are hungry for positive images of the future. The stories at the heart of ‘Nature’s Toolbox’ offer fresh solutions, making it clear that humanity is itself an essential piece of this system. By understanding the relationships, not only can we save nature, we can save ourselves, too.”
Entrance to “Nature’s Toolbox” is free with basic admission to The Field Museum. For
further information, visit fieldmuseum.org or www.artworksforchange.org.
Art Works for Change produces traveling contemporary art exhibitions that address
social and environmental issues. It applies the transformative power of art to promote
awareness, inspire action and provoke dialogue. The exhibitions serve as catalyst and crucible where artists, museums, advocacy organizations, and the local community can unite in common cause. Art Works for Change is a 501c3 charitable corporation.