go to the 
Tree of Life home page

Tree of Life Web Project/Encyclopedia of Life Collaboration

On 9 May 2007 the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL), a major new initiative in the online documentation of life on Earth, was announced in Washington, D. C. (see press release). Many Tree of Life (ToL) users and contributors have noted the extensive overlap in the goals of EOL and ToL, and there has been some concern about the long-term survival of the ToL alongside a similar but much larger project, funded at a scale orders of magnitude beyond the ToL's resources. In order to avoid duplication of effort, ToL and EOL have agreed to closely coordinate future activities, sharing content, and software tools.

Since the EOL's emphasis is on the development of species pages, the ToL will strengthen its focus on phylogenetic information and the documentation of deeper branches in the tree of life. For the time being, we will still promote the creation of ToL leaf pages, but once the EOL workbench is up and running, we will encourage our contributors to move the development of content for individual species to the EOL platform. The ToL will then import materials for leaf pages from the EOL, while making much of its branch page content and phylogenetic information available for use in the EOL. The EOL has agreed to provide financial assistance to the ToL to support the technical and organizational developments necessary for future ToL/EOL integration.

ToL and EOL will thus constitute complementary efforts, and participation of scientists in both projects is desirable. The ToL organizers welcome the EOL initiative. The success of this project is critical to our goal of making information about all organisms available freely on the internet, and we will support EOL development in a variety of different ways, including participation in the Biodiversity Synthesis Group. The EOL promises great benefits for our contributor and user communities by integrating the efforts of disparate online projects, developing new incentives for content providers, and promoting the significance of biodiversity research through public outreach.

About the Tree of Life

About ToL

ToL News

Goals of the ToL


Structure of the ToL

ToL Home Picture



Citing the ToL