RESOURCES: Tallying Life Down Under

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Science  04 Mar 2005:
Vol. 307, Issue 5714, pp. 1385
DOI: 10.1126/science.307.5714.1385a

Home to egg-laying platypuses, tree-climbing kangaroos, and 2-meter-long lizards, Australia has more than its share of biological oddities. The country's estimated 2 million kinds of plants, animals, and other creatures include plenty of less spectacular species, too. The taxonomic catalogs at this site from the Australian government's Department of Environment and Heritage in Canberra can help researchers sort through this prodigious diversity. The Fauna Online page directs you to species descriptions for many animal groups, providing distribution maps, notes on ecology, key references, and other information about organisms such as the giant cuttlefish (Sepia apama), which lives along much of the country's coast. The listings will eventually cover all Aussie animal species. The Flora Online page lets you search a similar catalog of plants, algae, and lichens.

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