Woods Hole (MA) - The Marine Biological Laboratory in Massachusetts has launched a 30,000-page online resource consisting of encyclopedic information about every living creature ever documented.
Designed to be the ultimate compendium of living creatures, the "Encyclopedia of Life" is the first of its kind, according to the university. It will be a "live document" that MBL will continue to expand as new discoveries are found.
The university describes the current version as just "the first 30,000 pages of a massive online encyclopedia." The massive research database aims to aggregate info of around 1.8 million known species. Scientists who worked on the project say it could help people better understand diseases as well as how different animals interact with one another.
"The EOL provides an extraordinary window onto the living world, one that will greatly accelerate and expand the potential for biological and biomedical discovery," said Marine Biological Lab CEO Gary Borisy. A massive conglomerate of educational institutions participated in the EOL project, including Harvard, the Smithsonian Institution, the Field Museum of Chicago, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the Missouri Botanical Garden.
The project is expected to expand to 1.8 million pages, one for every species, and is scheduled for completion by 2017.
Users can visit the comprehensive resource at www.eol.org.