The All-Species Project
Executive Editor, Wired Magzine
If we were to discover life on a faraway planet the first thing we would do is a systematic survey of any life on that world. We have not yet to done that on our own homeplanet Earth. After several centuries of taxonomic research we have identified 1.5 million species, but we have no idea, even to the nearest magntitude, of the total number of species on earth. Some estimates put the total at 100 million, meaning we have only discovered a few percent of the species so far. The All-Species Inventory is a scientific campaign to discover, identify, and catalog every living species on Earth in one generation, or 25 years. The end result will be a web page for each species. The project has the backing of working taxonomists around the world, it has established a non-profit foundation based in the Presidio, San Francisco, with its first million dollars of funding, and it has an emerging agenda to complete this audacious but vital work of science. How it might go about this is the topic of this talk.