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Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas

Bell Museum

The Minnesota Biodiversity Atlas is an online, searchable interface integrating an extensive set of over 5 terabytes of data from the Bell Museum on birds, mammals, fishes, plants, and fungi to enhance research capacity to perform a range of activities from biological surveys to conservation planning.

Three of the largest terrestrial ecosystems in the world meet near the headwaters of the Mississippi River in the upper midwest. The meeting place of the eastern broadleaf forests, the prairies of the Great Plains, and the coniferous forests of Canada brings together a remarkable array of plant and animal species. Many of these species are at the extremes of their range, and models of species range changes in future climates predict that change will happen fastest at these extremes. Documenting, predicting, and understanding that change depends on accurate records of species distribution.

The Museum holds more than a million specimens from all seven continents. Many records predate the digital age. The Atlas continues to expand as we digitize our historic holdings and add new specimens to the Museum. Half of our holdings have been digitized so far. More than 400,000 are mapped and 200,000 have digital images. Help add more specimens to the Atlas with Mapping Change, a Bell Museum citizen science project supported by the Zooniverse. Your contributions will help us know where species have been and predict where they may end up in the future!

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Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). The Trust Fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by the citizens of Minnesota to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.
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