Open Tree of Life

Last updated
Open Tree of Life
Available inEnglish
Registrationnot required
LaunchedSeptember 2015
Current statusactive
Content license
BSD 2-clause (FreeBSD) [1]

The Open Tree of Life is an online phylogenetic tree of life – a collaborative effort, funded by the National Science Foundation. [2] [3] The first draft, including 2.3 million species, was released in September 2015. [4] The Interactive graph allows the user to zoom in to taxonomic classifications, phylogenetic trees, and information about a node. Clicking on a species will return its source and reference taxonomy.


The tree of life at the node Eukaryota Treeoflifescreenshot.png
The tree of life at the node Eukaryota


The project uses a supertree approach to generate a single phylogenetic tree (served at [5] ) from a comprehensive taxonomy and a curated set of published phylogenetic estimates.

The taxonomy is a combination of several large classifications produced by other projects; it is created using a software tool called "smasher". [6] The resulting taxonomy is called an Open Tree Taxonomy (OTT) and can be browsed on-line. [7]


The project was started in June 2012 with a three-year NSF award to researchers at ten universities. In 2015, a two-year supplemental award was made to researchers at three institutions.

See also

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  1. "OpenTreeOfLife License".
  2. Hinchliff CE, Smith SA, Allman JF, Burleigh JG, Chaudhary R, Coghill LM, et al. (October 2015). "Synthesis of phylogeny and taxonomy into a comprehensive tree of life". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 112 (41): 12764–9. Bibcode:2015PNAS..11212764H. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1423041112 . PMC   4611642 . PMID   26385966.
  3. "Assembling, Visualizing, and Analyzing the Tree of Life". National Science Foundation (NSF). Retrieved 2016-02-11.
  4. Pennisi E (21 September 2015). "First comprehensive tree of life shows how related you are to millions of species". Science Magazine.
  5. "opentree". Open Tree of Life developers.
  6. Rees JA, Cranston K (2017). "Automated assembly of a reference taxonomy for phylogenetic data synthesis". Biodiversity Data Journal. 5 (5): e12581. doi: 10.3897/BDJ.5.e12581 . PMC   5515096 . PMID   28765728.
  7. "".