What we do

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.

How it works

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:

We aim to grow this toolbox into a sustainable community resource that is open to anyone and that evolves to integrate new resources and operations.

How to get involved

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).

Who we are

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

We have benefited from feedback from a number of consultants and collaborators, including Yan Wong, James Rosindell (Imperial College London), Karen Cranston (OpenTree), Jonathan Rees (OpenTree), Jaime Huerta-Cepas (ETE), Brian Sidlauskas (Oregon State University), Ramona Walls (CyVerse), Cyndy Parr and Katja Schulz.

Project staff on excursions to Dripping Springs in New Mexico for project meetings