Our web tools can benefit you and your projects. Teachers can design hands-on ecological research projects for the schoolyard or local park without killing specimens. Park managers can track migrations of invasive species. Scientists can map large collections and present information about species. Amateur naturalists can upload images and make a life list of species they find. Environmental educators can build online field guides so simple they can be used even by the youngest beginner.

Everyone can benefit in some way from a partnership with Discover Life. With our powerful integrated web tools, you can:

Keep a life list – store your photographic (or video/audio) records of natural history. It’s your own electronic nature journal – this is a service somewhat like Flickr or Picasa web albums, but linked to species information, map data and more. You can keep thousands of photographs and other data on our site for free, and store associated information as well. To see examples of stored photographs, click here.
Map species you find – every time you enter locality data to one of your photo records, it will instantly map as a point on the Global Mapper. This works similarly to Google Earth, but our mapper is capable of mapping many more points, each of them attached to an individual record of species occurrence.
Monitor species locations – You can enter a species name on the Global Mapper and it will show all the points where we and our partners have records for that species – each of the points on a species map is a live link to species occurrence, with photo or other record. For an example, click here for a map of the common honeybee, Apis mellifera.
Learn about species – Discover Life is an online encyclopedia of life, with over a million species pages, many with photos, information, and links to more info on other sites. You can access this information via the search box on the home page, via “All Living Things” or if you are unsure of the identification, using the IDnature Guides. Here is a species page for red maple, Acer rubrum. Note the additional information from other sites.
Identify species – use our IDnature Guides to identify bees, ants, caterpillars, slime molds, birds, invasive species, among many other groups – many of our online guides are under construction but some are quite complete. For example, click here for a comprehensive list of guides to eastern North American bee species or, here for a simple guide to 150+ common caterpillars.
Create your own field guide – use our technology to create a field guide to your local schoolyard, national park, even your own back yard. With our guide-building tools you can build simple guides to plants, insects, fungi, whatever group you are interested in. Here is a simple guide to 26 tree species that was created by students at Cedar Shoals High School in Athens, Georgia, and here is an even simpler guide to 17 kinds of schoolyard leaves created by an undergraduate for 2nd graders at Gaines Elemenatry School.
For scientists, we provide further services. We can create labels with unique identifiers for your specimens. Using our electronic journal, Proceedings of Life, we can translate cumbersome printed literature such as catalogs into efficient, integrated electronic databases. With the same technology teachers have used to build simple guides to schoolyard plants, you can build very sophisticated guides to any group. You can store and map your photos, videos, audio, locality data, species relationships such as host/parasite information, and other notes on each species record. Discover Life provides the tools to monitor large amounts of natural history data, over large areas, over any period of time. Imagine the possibilities, develop the questions.
We are dedicated to improving education about the natural world, and therefore make our tools available for everyone, for free. You keep copyrights of your photographs and other information, you control how much or how little information you provide. We work constantly to improve our technology to make it easier to use. If you have comments or questions please let us know! Contact Tori Staples or Becka Walcott — email:

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