The National Science Foundation has awarded USM a three-year grant worth more than $290,000 for support of the project Collaborative Research: AVATOL - Next Generation Phenomics for the Tree of Life. Under the direction of Departmental Chair and Professor of Biological Sciences Lisa Moore, the research project will be a collaboration with 10 other universities from across the country and The American Museum of Natural History.
The project will create an evolutionary map to depict how all species are related and can be traced back to a common ancestor. Its one of the three projects in the NSF’s $13 million Assembling, Visualizing, and Analyzing the Tree of Life (AVAToL) program that will build a comprehensive Tree of Life accessible to scientists, students and the general public.
The AVAToL program will also be supporting efforts to create an online version of the tree containing information about all 1.8 million named species. Creating this central and online resource will allow the tree to be dynamic and evolving; updates and revisions can be made as new data comes in as a result of the methods developed by the AVAToL teams.