Variety is the spice of life and taxonomy is the science we use to understand that seasoning. Taxonomists describe and organize the billions of living things on this planet, creating vast collections of information that help us understand how all life on Earth is connected. Their work has been the basis of medical breakthroughs, lead to the great discoveries of ecology, and opened our eyes to the wonders of evolution. Taxonomy even plays a role in how you and I think about the things that live in our own backyards.
Trouble is, a lot of that information is hidden behind paywalls or scattered across random sources where the general public can't easily get to it.
To help solve this problem, The Encyclopedia of Life is asking people to research and write short descriptions of some of nature's most fascinating species. Maggie writes that, "those descriptions will be reviewed by curators for inclusion in the Encyclopedia of Life — a crowd-created, open-source effort to make scientific information about the world we live in available to all the people who live in it."
If a place in history isn't enough of an incentive, there are also some nice prizes for the best descriptions.