Sounds, Trees, and Models of Life - Weekly WHOMP -

This will be a short Wednesday Hyperlinks Of My Preference, but there were a few cool things I'd like to share this week. I will be posting some actually substantive articles soon! In the mean time, check these sites out!

  • Nature Soundmap: This is one of my new favourite websites. I suspect this will remain a favourite and be visited many times by this listener in the near future. A map of the world on which is placed nature recordings from all sorts of habitats. I love nature recordings; they are my favourite thing to listen to while I work. Some people like music, but I find it too distracting. The sounds of nature always make me feel more relaxed, and here is a whole world of them.
  • OneZoom, Tree of Life Explorer: A fantastic way to visualize the relationships between all life on Earth. Zoom in and out of a massive fractal structure upon which is mapped our fellow species as well as ourselves. Try and find the Homo sapiens lineage by zooming all the way in. Gives you a humbling experience of our place in nature (and this is just on the Tetrapod tree!), in a similar way to how seeing the earth's position in the milky way gives us proper perspective on our place in the universe. Only a few trees up right now but this will be especially cool once more people put their trees on it and get them connected up. You can even embed a tree. Click below to zoom to humanity!
  • The Madingley Model of Life on Earth: A great idea whose development I will be watching closely. This is an attempt to create an ecological simulation that can model all of life on Earth. There is still much to be done, but I think this is an impressive start. Only time will tell how complex simulations such as this will aid our understanding of ecology and inform our policy in regards to protecting and maintaining ecosystems, but we will never know unless we try. Fortune favours the bold, as they say, and this project is nothing if not bold. Which is what I like about it. And, the code has been made available entirely open source, which is fantastic. My hearty thanks and congratulations to the team behind the Madingley model. I would love if this could be the base of a global open source software collaboration between computation ecologists around the world. Something like the R or the Mozilla Firefox, or perhaps Ubuntu of ecological simulators, that is, if we can get enough ecologists to agree on what should go in.

To summarize, three examples of a global, cooperative projects that give us some perspective of life across the Earth and our own place in all of its chaotic wonder.