For more than 300 years, tens of thousands of biologists around the world, through determined and rugged exploration of the planet’s wild places, have striven to discover and document the diversity of life on earth. As a lasting legacy of those epic surveys, biological museums have amassed internationally-distributed collections of dried, mounted, pickled, preserved, frozen and stuffed specimens which physically voucher the natural distribution of wild species.
Today, with databases and Internet communication protocols, biodiversity research collections have assembled massive caches of information associated with these voucher specimens–data describing what lived where and when.
Lifemapper starts there. It uses all of the online geospatial species occurrence data to create distribution maps and, notably, goes one step further to predict where an individual species could exist based on where it is documented to live. Lifemapper does this by combining species occurrence data with global climate, terrain and land cover information, to identify environmental correlates of species ranges.
Lifemapper documentation is at lifemapper.github.io