Bennington Biodiversity Project

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Introduction

The Biodiversity Project is an ongoing All-Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI -- which also stands for "Allied Trades of the Baking Industry; don't confuse the two acronyms) -- an effort to document the full scope of biological diversity within the geographical boundaries of the Bennington College campus. Many ATBI's have been undertaken. Some are still underway. None have ever been completed, for any area, and it's likely that none every will be completed. But they offer insight into how biotic diversity is structured over space and into just how much we DON'T know about the diversity of the planet.

This ATBI is in its earliest stages; groups documented so far are, generally, the easiest and most obvious. The total species diversity of the campus (even without bacteria) is certainly in the thousands, probably the tens of thousands. Plenty of work to do.

Probably the most fully implemented ATBI so far (at least for a large-ish area) is for the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There is also a loose consortium of ATBI efforts if you're interested in exploring further.

Our ATBI is built on a WIKI format, which means that anybody within the Bennington community can contribute. Feel free to do so, but please don't abuse the open nature of the project. If you're confident of a taxonomic identification on the Bennington College campus, add it; if you want to create or expand a WIKI page for a particular taxon, do so (some good examples on the Plant Kingdom page from which you can borrow format). If you're unsure about any of this, exercise restraint, ask...

Kerry Woods is maintaining vague oversight; direct questions to him.

The WIKI structure lends itself to a hierarchical approach corresponding to the taxonomic hierarchy; from this page, you can link to Kingdom pages below, and from there to appropriate sub-taxa as called for.

RUNNING (approximate) TOTAL (UPDATE as you add things):
Taxon No. of spp
Kingdom Fungi 135
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Arthropoda
Class Insecta 102
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves 118
Class Mammalia 19
Kingdom Plantae 158
TOTAL 531

Miscellaneous Taxonomic Resources

(Please restrict this to general resources; more taxon-specific resources should be linked under appropriate sub-pages)

  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System, or ITIS is a compilation of taxonomy with synonymy for all organisms. It is pretty current, and has the great advantage of linking to ALL obsolete names...
  • Wikipedia is surprisingly complete and often the most current synthetic source -- sometimes so up to date that it adopts controversial taxonomic rearrangements. All taxonomic pages incorporate hierarchical links up and down taxonomic ranks.

The Taxonomic Hierarchy

The high-level structure here loosely follows the Tree of Life project (for now), but other sources are mixed in. Click on highlighted taxa for sub-pages.

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