Darwin Tree of Life

The Darwin Tree of Life Project is an ambitious project to sequence the genomes of every living eukaryotic organism in the Atlantic Archipelago of Britain and Ireland, of which there are an estimated 60,000.  Researchers collect representative specimens of every species and then use DNA sequencing technology to unravel and document the genome of that species. By coding each genome, a broader picture of the relatedness of individual species develops;  this project is one of many similar initiatives globally that are all part of the  the Earth BioGenome Project, a united effort to sequence every known eukaryote on Earth and create a genetic database of earth’s rich biodiversity. Beginning in 2020, the Darwin Tree of Life project aims to document 2000 of the 60,000 estimated organisms in the Archipelago as a sort of test run to refine processes and skills.  One potential problem with the project is that the pace of biodiversity loss is outstripping the attempts to document biodiversity. While the resulting database and view of how we are all connected is interesting and useful, the tree, in reality, will have significantly thinned as species threatened by climate change, habitat loss, pollution, and other factors fade away, possibly before they were even documented as part of the Tree of Life. 


Biodiversity, Data, Ecological Monitoring, Internet of Things