by Andrew J
Just five years ago, the Smithsonian Institution started collecting data about every living thing on earth. The planet has an approximate 1.9 million species of living organisms on earth. Currently the researchers have collected around 40% of the total species. The database includes observations such as describing the nocturnal behavior of the flying lemur, and maps showing the distribution of the dark honey fungus. Questions and observations such as those are all included in the database. Scientists use these databases to make future predictions about certain species. They predict that the database will be complete in 2017 and hold data for every known plant, animal, insect, and microbe.
I was looking at articles from popular science and I came across an article that lists the top ten most impressive databases on the earth. Naturally, I was intrigued by the list and this particular database stuck out to me. I usually associate databases with big businesses that deal with millions of customers. Companies such as Google or Amazon have millions of customers that require information to be held in very large databases. Never did I ever think that databases can be used for things like the Encyclopedia of Life. Every known living thing, all of their habitats, all of their characteristics are recorded in the database. When this database is completed, researchers and environmentalists will be able to very quickly find the information they need to protect us and protect the wildlife.
Pacella, Rena Marie. The World’s Most Amazing Databases: The Encyclopedia of Life. www.popsci.com. 31, October, 2011