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ZipcodeZoo.com, Popular Online Field Guide for Professional and Amateur Naturalists, Grows to 2.7 Million Species Pages
Sep 25, 2008 (08:09 AM EDT)


BETHESDA, Md., Sept. 25 /PRNewswire/ -- ZipcodeZoo.com announced today that the popular online field guide for professional and amateur naturalists has grown to 2.7 million species pages (dubbed "Critter Pages" by ZipcodeZoo), making it the most comprehensive resource of its kind, significantly reducing the need to search far and wide for detailed species information. Each ZipcodeZoo Critter Page applies to a distinct name which might be a variety, cultivar, hybrid or subspecies. Descriptions are available for more than 1.2 million plants, 1.2 million animals, over 12,000 bacteria, 17,000 chromista, 203,000 fungi and nearly 16,000 protozoa.

ZipcodeZoo's location-based platform enables visitors to view information on invasive species, species that are threatened and all species that live in a specific geographic area or zip code, as well as other local information such as demographics, local attractions for naturalists and local weather.

Version 2.0 of the location-based "catalog of all life on earth" offers an improved user experience featuring faster page loading, advanced user support tools and more information. Specific enhancements include:

-- Choropleth migration maps which show relative densities of a species across the earth's surface. -- Rich multimedia content including 265,000 photos taken by nearly 1,400 of the world's best wildlife photographers, 1,470 sound recordings, definitions of 234,889 terms, 76,465 large photos that can be zoomed and panned, and hundreds of Photosynth images created with Microsoft's new application which enables multiple images to be combined into a coherent visual experience. -- Charts showing how a species' numbers may be changing relative to the larger population. -- Analyses that show the average altitude or depth where a species is found. -- Ecology tab on Critter Pages offering habitat characteristics and identifying other species commonly found in proximity. -- Wikipedia-style "Edit this Page" option for content contributors.

"The tremendous participation by our ZipcodeZoo community of users and content contributors from around the world has enabled us to create a resource that is comprehensive, accurate and easy to understand," said David Stang, PhD, founder of the BayScience Foundation and chief architect of ZipcodeZoo.com. "Our ongoing efforts will focus not only on growing the volume of content available on ZipcodeZoo.com, but also on enriching the user experience and ensuring the highest quality of information possible."

The ZipcodeZoo Community

A project of the BayScience Foundation, Inc., a non-profit private operating foundation, ZipcodeZoo is a living online resource, enhanced daily by the ZipcodeZoo community of content contributors, reviewers and curators who work to improve the comprehensiveness, accuracy and overall value of the site.

Through a new Curators program, the site invites the participation of content specialists who work to improve the value of an institution's collections. ZipcodeZoo Curators are professional or advanced amateur biologists with specialized knowledge of a taxonomic group at the family level or below. The Curators program provides an opportunity for the site's users to share their knowledge of a taxonomic group with the rest of the world. Information on Curator duties and how to become a Curator is available at http://zipcodezoo.com/Curators/ .

ZipcodeZoo is also committed to involving non-experts by building in special content features for novices such as:

-- Taxonomic terms that pronounce when the speaker icon is clicked. -- Definitions of terms that display when clicked (or moused-over, for short definitions) and that self-pronounce. -- "Interesting Facts" highlighted at the top of many pages. -- "Get Involved" page featuring a number of ways to participate in the ZipcodeZoo mission. -- ZipcodeZoo Rangers program for young naturalists who value our wildlife heritage and are determined to help preserve and strengthen it. Membership in the program is free and is open to those 18 years of age and under. More information is available at http://zipcodezoo.com/Rangers/ .

About ZipcodeZoo.com

ZipcodeZoo.com was founded in 2004 with the goal of creating a comprehensive, accurate and easy to understand online field guide that would be equally valuable to trained scientists and backyard naturalists-a complete catalog of all life on earth. ZipcodeZoo's focus is applied biogeography-understanding plants and animals in their place, including in your own backyard. The location-based platform enables visitors to view information on invasive species, species that are threatened and all species that live in a specific area or zip code, as well as other local information such as demographics, local attractions for naturalists and local weather. ZipcodeZoo.com is a project of the BayScience Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit private operating foundation. Visit http://www.zipcodezoo.com .

CONTACT: Media: Eileen Pacheco For ZipcodeZoo.com, +1-781-556-1026, eileen@tango-group.com

Web site: http://www.zipcodezoo.com/