Our mission is to document and classify the vast diversity of Life on Earth, recent and extinct, and make the knowledge available for science and society. Through global scientific collaboration, enrichment of our collections, and the training of young scientists we contribute to the never-ending quest of the ‘Tree of Life’ that explains how life evolved and diversified on our planet and helps us safeguard its future.
The diversity of life on Earth is still only superficially documented, and upwards of 90% of the species currently in existence may remain to be discovered. Many species are known only through one or a few specimens deposited in a scientific collection. Documenting, describing and naming the planetary biota is in itself a monumental task, but an even larger undertaking lies in resolving the natural history of each species.
A well corroborated classification and phylogeny is instrumental to a proper inventory, and a rigorous scientific circumscription of all species along with the reconstruction of their phylogeny is therefore vital to the biological disciplines.
A well-corroborated ‘Tree of Life’ will be the key to understanding our planetary biota, and it will have an impact throughout the life sciences, from genetic crop improvement to understanding the distribution and adaptations of species and setting conservation priorities for selected habitats with threatened plants and animals.