Until recently, expert knowledge on phylogenetic relationships-- the Tree of Life-- was scattered in thousands of inaccessible publications. Then the OpenTree project processed thousands of publications to generate a "synthetic tree" covering millions of species, a resource with enormous potential both for educational purposes and to guide research.
Yet, there is still a very large accessibility gap, making it unlikely that this trove of knowledge will flow into the hands of scientists, educators, and the public.
The Phylotastic project aims to lower the barriers to accessing the tree of life: we want to make getting a species tree just as easy-- and as fast-- as getting online driving directions. We solve problems involved in using scientific names, extracting relationships, integrating time-scales, and finding images and other resources about species.
For users, the part that you see-- the web portal or the mobile app-- are just two of the many possible front-ends or "clients" that use an underlying toolbox of phylotastic web services, each with a defined role providing data or operations. Many of our services rely on key information resources such as:
The Phylotastic project is in many ways an open project. We maintain a public channel for project information. Our source code is all available on github. We welcome feedback and are open to new opportunities to collaborate (use the Feedback form).
The Phylotastic project is an NSF-funded research project ("Collaborative Research: ABI Development: An open infrastructure to disseminate phylogenetic knowledge", NSF 1458572) with 3 centers and 4 work sites. Current and former project staff include