Conservation Biology Publication

September 7, 2011

Postdoc, Josh Drew, has written a piece titled "The Role of Natural History Institutions and Bioinformatics in Conservation Biology" which will be published in the 25th Anniversary edition of Conservation Biology this coming December.

Torsten Dikow's work in the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Aamazônia

August 25, 2011

Torsten Dikow travelled to Manaus, Brazil from August 4-7 in order to work in the collection of the Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Aamazônia, INPA. INPA is a federally-funded research institute in Brazil dedicated to the study of the biodiversity of the Amazon region. Several interesting specimens of robber flies (Asilidae) and mydas flies (Mydidae) of importance to his current research project funded by an NSF REVSYS grant were studied and photographed. For example, Torsten discovered several specimens of the rarely encountered robber-fly genus Schildia, on which he published an article in Insect Systematics & Evolution in 2009.

Software Development at BioSynC

July 30, 2011

BioSynC sponsors work on several applications for visualization of biodiversity information, including phylogeny web tools (, collaboration with the iPlant visualization group (, and a web tool called Viewer of Life on EOL (VoLE), a visual taxonomy browser written by Kris Urie using Encyclopedia of Life web services. The browser displays a taxonomy tree with images and text gathered from the EOL. Taxa are displayed in a space-filling "treemap" layout, showing both the taxon name, which is linked to the EOL taxon page, and a representative image from EOL.

For more information on visualization software developed in BioSynC see the Tree Visualization project page.

Phenotype RCN Ontologies Summit

February 28, 2011

Mark Westneat attended the Phenotype RCN Ontologies Summit meeting sponsored by NSF. The meeting was the kick-off to a 5 year Phenotype RCN project among ontology projects across vertebrate and invertebrate animal biology.

Papua New Guinea Research

January 31, 2011

Mark Westneat and Josh Drew along with University of Chicago graduate students Joanna Mandecki and Charlene McCord conducted field work and international training at the Motupore Island Research Station in Papua New Guinea. More than 350 species were documented and collected. Images and content from the field work will be made available on EOL via LifeDesks. Westneat and Drew trained three local students from University of Papua New Guinea and are developing collaborative grants for future research and conservation work in the region.

Bahamas Field Work

November 18, 2010

Mark Westneat conducted field work in the Bahamas, involving coral reef fish surveys, specimen photography and DNA sampling, and training in field techniques.

Michigan State University Seminar

November 15, 2010

Torsten Dikow gave an invited seminar at Michigan State University titled, “Phylogenetic and biodiversity studies on Asiloidea flies”

Digitization of Biological Collections

September 30, 2010

Mark Westneat attended a planning meeting at NSF headquarters in Washington DC to discuss the upcoming Digitization of Biological Collections initiative and how this might interact with EOL.

Torsten Dikow presentations and field work in Costa Rica

August 30, 2010

Torsten Dikow presented four talks at the International Congress of Dipterology in San Jose, Costa Rica. Talk titles: 1) The Encyclopedia of Life, the Biodiversity Heritage Library, and systematic dipterology; 2) LifeDesk: managing and sharing biodiversity research on the web; 3) An overview of Afrotropical Mydidae, the most diverse mydid fauna in the world; and 4) Phylogenetic relationships within Mydidae based on morphology.

NSF-REU program

August 10, 2010

This past month Josh Drew and Karen Cranston taught a summer workshop for 20 students from around the country in the Field Museum’s NSF-REU program. The workshop included a section on EOL and students used Education LifeDesks to create at least 30 species pages.

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