NET NEWS: Species Master List Hits Milestone

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Science  29 Apr 2005:
Vol. 308, Issue 5722, pp. 609
DOI: 10.1126/science.308.5722.609a

An international project to create a comprehensive listing of life on Earth is about one-third complete. Last week, the latest update to the Catalogue of Life pushed the total number of species in this taxonomic trove to more than 535,000. The catalog is sponsored by the Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) and Species 2000, a consortium of database organizations based at the University of Reading, U.K. (Science, 14 July 2000, p. 227). The Species 2000 site serves as a portal to the catalog, allowing you to browse or search a taxonomic tree linked to a host of “federated” databases such as AlgaeBase, the Species Fungorum, the World Spider Catalog, and many more. For example, look up the gerenuk, an African antelope, to find information such as its accepted scientific and common names, distribution, and classification. You can link to the ITIS database for more details. Smithsonian Institution zoologist Michael Ruggiero, director of ITIS, says the project is on track to record all of the roughly 1.75 million named species by 2011.

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