Evolutionary informatics: unifying knowledge about the diversity of life.
biodiversity, Biological Evolution, Computational Biology, Computational Biology: methods, Ecology, Ecology: methods, Ecology: trends, Phylogeny
The accelerating growth of data and knowledge in evolutionary biology is indisputable. Despite this rapid progress, information remains scattered, poorly documented and in formats that impede discovery and integration. A grand challenge is the creation of a linked system of all evolutionary data, information and knowledge organized around Darwin's ever-growing Tree of Life. Such a system, accommodating topological disagreement where necessary, would consolidate taxon names, phenotypic and geographical distributional data across clades, and serve as an integrated community resource. The field of evolutionary informatics, reviewed here for the first time, has matured into a robust discipline that is developing the conceptual, infrastructure and community frameworks for meeting this grand challenge.