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2010 Encyclopedia of Life Rubenstein Fellows announced

In celebration of the United Nations' declaration of 2010 as the International Year of Biodiversity, Encyclopedia of Life (EOL; is pleased to join partners around the world working to increase our understanding of the vital role that biodiversity plays in sustaining life on Earth.

To kick off this important year, Dr. James Edwards, Executive Director of EOL, announced today that its first annual EOL Rubenstein Fellows competition is providing awards to an exceptional group of early-career scientists.

The EOL Rubenstein Fellows program provides part-time funding so these scientists can assemble authoritative information and make it freely available to the world through EOL. The proposed pages are rich compilations of existing and new knowledge on natural history, distribution, and behavior. Pages may include high quality, illustrative images of live animals and specimens, maps of distributions, links to genetic information, and digitized literature.

EOL Rubenstein Fellows are selected on the basis of stellar achievement, promise for continued accomplishment, and their ability to catalyze research communities to contribute to EOL. One of the hallmarks of the Fellowship program is the diversity of its participants. This first group of Fellows hails from around the world and their research specialties cover everything from echinoderms of Panama to spiders of western India to sub-Saharan amphibians. Half of the Fellows will focus on marine species, reflecting EOL's current theme of marine biodiversity. The successful candidates were chosen from 85 graduate and postdoctoral applicants.

The Fellows are affiliated with a wide variety of researchers around the world and in all represent 12 different academic institutions including the University of Hamburg, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and the Smithsonian Institution.

For a full list of Fellows, their specialties, and their affiliations please visit the Fellows site.

"By appointing these accomplished individuals as Fellows, we will help to support their important scientific research. At the same time, they will be sharing their knowledge and taxonomic expertise through species pages available for the world to use," says Dr. Edwards. "Together we are taking a great step forward in building the Encyclopedia of Life."

EOL Rubenstein Fellows awards are made possible through a generous donation by David M. Rubenstein to the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of Natural History. More than 60 fellowships are expected to be awarded over the four years of the program.

"I am excited to have this opportunity to support the vital work the next generation of scientists are undertaking in the field of biodiversity," said David Rubenstein. "Their extraordinary efforts will have a lasting impact on the health of the natural world for years to come."


Contact: Ms. Breen Byrnes
Encyclopedia of Life

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