More than 2.23 million species in the world are the most comprehensive “biological map” in history

How much life is there on earth? When did they appear and how do they evolve? When they disappeared in this world, is there a ruin that proves that they have come? OneZoom may have a way to answer these ultimate questions.

OneZoom is an online interactive "biological map" that covers almost all known species, as well as their evolutionary processes and relationships.

▲ Picture from: besjournals

It looks like a big tree. Each leaf represents a different species. There are 2,235,322 pieces in total, carrying the lives that are or have been alive now. The branches show how they evolved from a common ancestor billions of years ago. Come.

Although this may be the most comprehensive "tree of life" to date, there are still many things that cannot be found here, such as the COVID-19 virus and dinosaurs. The development team does not know where to place the virus, and some people question whether the virus is considered a living thing.

The method of using it is also very simple. You can interact directly on the web page and explore like a geographic map. You can control the touch screen or mouse to zoom in, zoom out, or move around. You can learn about scientific names, images, extinction risks and other information, and you can also link to Online resources such as Wikipedia, Encyclopedia of Life.

The color of the leaves refers to the catalog of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Red leaves represent species that are known to be threatened with extinction; the species represented by green leaves are currently safe but may also be threatened; most leaves are gray, which means they are not known How big is the threat. Color-blind users can choose a more friendly color scheme in the settings menu.

▲ The meaning of leaf color. Picture from: onezoom

At the same time, each leaf has a popularity index, which depends on the Wikipedia page size and number of views-the average monthly number of visits in the past 2 years is multiplied by the current page size and the square root is taken. The prevalence index of all species is still changing. The popularity index may provide information for conservation efforts, especially when there is a need to increase or decrease public interest.

▲ The top 20 most popular species, Homo sapiens first. Picture from: besjournals

How is the dynamic visualization of millions of "leaves" realized on a single web page? This requires overcoming many challenges such as data synthesis, data processing, and computer graphics.

To put it simply, the development team uses automated data processing, synthesizes data from various available sources, provides these data to the client visualization engine in parts, stores the entire tree topology locally in a highly compressed form, and then explores Dynamically populate metadata such as text and images from time to time.

They also refer to mathematical fractal geometry and use the "fractal visualization" technology to condense the information into one page and be easy to explore. The width of the branches and the size of the leaves are also determined by this. When the smallest blade is displayed in a readable size, the map expands to span the entire solar system.

▲ Various categories. Picture from: onezoom

For more complete technical methods, please refer to the paper published by the team in "Ecology and Evolutionary Methods" on December 13. All in all, we can explore the complete tree of life smoothly online, even on older mobile devices. In fact, this is the origin of the name "OneZoom", we only need to "zoom in" or "zoom out".

▲ Development team. Picture from: onezoom

The OneZoom project started in 2011, led by Dr. James RosinDELL, a biodiversity researcher at Imperial College London, and Dr. Yan Wong, an evolutionary biologist at Oxford University. Their original intentions were:

Connect scientific and accurate information together and present it in an easy-to-navigate visual way to meet the needs of research, teaching and scientific communication, and to help everyone understand biodiversity and the need to protect it.

▲ Picture from: onezoom

Currently OneZoom has attracted nearly 1.5 million online users, provides educational tools for teachers and students, provides software for scientists, provides interactive exhibitions for museums, and is supported by a long-term sustainability plan. University teacher Lori Tolley-Jordan said:

It turns the overwhelmingly "boring" text into "aha" moments where students can see the connection.

In addition, the flexibility of the OneZoom view also enables third-party projects to redesign the tree style to meet individual needs.

Among them is the "One Tree, One Planet" project , which is a digital art work of artist Naziha Mestaoui and the Florida Museum of Natural History. If we participate in it, our heartbeat rhythm will be recorded by the app, and represent the Homo sapiens species, and perform musical melody together with other species.

▲ one tree one planet. Picture from: onezoom

"One Tree, One Planet" hopes to use OneZoom to express, "Music is made based on the DNA sequence we share with every living thing on earth. The tree of life is a huge network of relationships that connects all living things. We are all related."

In order to make it easy for everyone to access, OneZoom is a free, non-advertising nonprofit resource. But sustainable operations require financial support. They came up with a sponsorship method, inviting users to spend money on leaves-that is, a species-to sign their own names.

▲ Application page. Picture from: onezoom

Most blades need to donate 5 pounds, 10 pounds or 20 pounds in exchange for the signature rights of most blades. About 0.3% of the blades require the most expensive £150. There are also some special blades that are not priced. Interested parties need to negotiate via email, such as "Sapiens "this piece.

▲ Different prices. Picture from: onezoom

You can rent a leaf for yourself or give it as a unique gift to others. However, donations do not directly contribute to the protection of specific species. Only one name is allowed for each blade, but the same name can sponsor multiple blades, and the term of one signature is 4 years.

OneZoom is still improving. The team admits that there are still many unknown things, such as not enough understanding of the order in which certain species split, this part is colored in a lighter shade; they also hope that each leaf will have additional audio, video or text-based content , Presenting more fascinating audio-visual effects.

Most of OneZoom's source code is publicly visible, and interested developers and scientists can make improvements as needed.

▲ Give directions:
Official website:

Grapes are not the only fruit.

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