About the Tree of Life Web Project
The Tree of Life Web Project is a collection of information about biodiversity compiled collaboratively by hundreds of expert and amateur contributors. Its goal is to contain a page with pictures, text, and other information for every species and for each group of organisms, living or extinct. Connections between Tree of Life web pages follow phylogenetic branching patterns between groups of organisms, so visitors can browse the hierarchy of life and learn about phylogeny and evolution as well as the characteristics of individual groups.
For background information about the Tree of Life Web Project, see this article in the special issue of the journal Zootaxa, Linnaeus Tercentenary: Progress in Invertebrate Taxonomy:
Here's an overview of the Tree of Life content:
|Scientific Materials (Core Content)||Learning Materials||Media|
|Resources||Branch pages (supraspecific taxa), leaf pages (individual species or subspecies), also other articles and notes.||Treehouses designed for a lay audience: investigations, stories, fun & games, art & culture, teacher resources, web quests, etc.||Images, videos, audio files, presentations, animations, downloadable documents, etc.|
|Contributors||Professional scientists||Professional scientists, teachers, students, science enthusiasts|
ToL contributors use custom authoring tools to upload the tree structure, images and other materials for web pages. This information is stored in a series of databases, and web pages are created dynamically. This system provides great flexibility in the presentation of information. It supports the customization of content for different audiences and the sharing of materials with other projects. Read more about the Technical Implementation of the ToL...
Materials stored in ToL databases, such as taxon names, text sections, images and other media are treated as objects that are attached to individual branching points in the phylogenetic hierarchy. By attaching objects to nodes in the tree, these objects become organized according to phylogenetic hypotheses in a nested, hierarchical schema. This design easily accommodates changes in phylogenetic hypotheses or nomenclatures. Read more about the ToL Information Architecture...
If you are curious about the ToL website, you will find plenty of background information about the project on the following pages. If you cannot find the topic you are interested in below, you can check the Sitemap for an overview of the different sections of the ToL site.
- Tree of Life News
Find out about recent developments at the ToL project.
- Goals of
the Tree of Life
A brief description of our goals.
- Tree of Life/Encyclopedia of Life
Explains the relationship between ToL and EOL.
- Structure of the Tree of
Learn about the different kinds of ToL pages and the ways in which they are connected.
- About the ToL Navigation
Guidance for the interpretation of the tree of life image on our home page.
- History and Plans for
Information about the history of the ToL project and our plans for the future.
- Tree of Life Accessibility
A description of our efforts to improve the accessibility of the ToL web site to diverse users.
- Citing the Tree of
Instructions on how to cite the ToL project in publications.
- Quality Assurance
How reliable is the content of the Tree of Life, and what are the mechanisms used to validate the accuracy of scientific contributions?
A series of pages documenting the development of the ToL project from a collection of static HTML pages to a dynamic, database-driven site.
- Tree of Life Policies
- Tree of Life Project People
Information about the people who put the Tree of Life together.
- Acknowledgements & Recognition