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Introduction (via Symbiota homepage; see also the developing WordPress Symbiota Website). “In this quickly changing world, there has developed a great necessity to learn about our world-wide biota at an increased rate. Scientists are predicting that future species declines will approach historical mass extinction levels within this century. We need to develop better tools to aid taxonomists, field biologists, and environmental educators. It is imperative that we increase our rate of conducting biological inventories, especially within the tropics, as well as steering youth toward becoming our future scientists. Symbiota web tools strive to integrate biological community knowledge and data in order to synthesize a network of databases and tools that will aid in increasing our overall environmental comprehension.”

“The Symbiota Software Project is working towards building a library of webtools to aid biologists in establishing specimen based virtual floras and faunas. The effort typically needed in building a quality virtual flora/fauna is usually under estimated. Writing the software, compiling the data, and curating the data relationships are each capable of overwhelming a project. The complexity of each of these tasks has shown that collaborative efforts are needed to build quality virtual flora or fauna of any significant taxonomic and geographic scope. The central premise of this open source software project is that through a partnership between software engines and scientific community, higher quality and more publicly useful biodiversity portals can be built. An open source software framework allows the technicians to create the tools, thus freeing the biologist to concentrate their efforts on the curation of quality datasets. In this manner, we can create something far greater than a single entity is capable of doing on their own.”

Active Symbiota Portals

Symbiota’s lead development team includes Ed Gilbert and Ben Brandt. The Symbiota user community has grown rapidly in recent years an is currently estimated to include some 250 natural history collections and 2500 users. SEINet alone averages more than 20,000 visits per month throughout 2013, according to Google Analytics. An expanding list of active Symbiota portals includes is offered here.