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Animal Diversity Web

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The Animal Diversity Web (ADW) is a non-profit group that hosts an online database site that collects natural history, classification, species characteristics, conservation biology, and distribution information on species of animals. The website includes photographs, sound clips, and a virtual museum.

The local, relational database is written and maintained by staff and student contributors from the University of Michigan.[1] The website has a virtual museum, containing mostly mammals and a collection of skulls that can be virtually handled, and there is also a cell phone app.[2] Resources are available for K–12 instructors.[3][4] The ADW markets itself as a resource for constructing scholarly documents.


The ADW was created in 1995 by Philip Myers, a former biology professor at the University of Michigan.[5] The site contains around 2,150 animal species with around 11,500 images and 725 sounds.[6][when?] The developers of the website planned to add 250 more species by the end of 2017.[4] The ADW has over 250 accounts of higher taxonomic groups.[4]

Most of the contributors to the website are undergraduate students. ADW has collaborated with 30 colleges and universities across the United States. The undergraduate students often submit reports on species as part of their course requirements.[7] Each account is edited by both the professors and the staff at the ADW.[7] As of November 2017, the Animal Diversity Web had 3,675 contributors.[4]


ADW has partnered with the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL).[8] The BioKIDS Critter Catalog, created by the University of Michigan, provides a simplified version of the animal accounts.[9] AmphibiaWeb is a partner that provides information on amphibian species.[10]


The current staff of the Animal Diversity Web is employed at the University of Michigan (as of 2017):

  • Phil Myers, Ph.D.: Director and founder of the Animal Diversity Web. Curator of Mammals in the Museum of Zoology and Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.[4]
  • Tricia Jones, Ph.D.: Educational researcher, assessment and usability coordinator, and site design consultant.
  • Roger Espinosa, M.S.: Technical lead in content management, XML templates, search engines, and taxonomy database.
  • Tanya Dewey, Ph.D.: Content expert, curriculum consultant, and ADW upkeep.
  • George Hammond, M.S.: Content expert, curriculum consultant, and ADW upkeep.[4]


  1. ^ "ADW: About Us". Retrieved 2022-11-02.
  2. ^ Tarng, Wermhuar, et al. “The Development of a Virtual Marine Museum for Educational Applications.” Journal of Educational Technology Systems, vol. 37, no. 1, 2008, pp. 39–59., doi:10.2190/et.37.1.d.
  3. ^ Animal Diversity Web,
  4. ^ a b c d e f The Animal Diversity Web Myers, P., R. Espinosa, C. S. Parr, T. Jones, G. S. Hammond, and T. A. Dewey. 2017.
  5. ^ Erickson, Jim (4 January 2013). "Revamped Animal Diversity Web reaching millions worldwide 18 years after launch". The University Record. Archived from the original on 7 September 2021. Retrieved 25 August 2013.
  6. ^ "ADW: Statistics and Facts". Retrieved 2022-06-16.
  7. ^ a b Parr, CS; Espinosa, R.; Dewey, T.; Hammond, G.; Myers, P. (2005). "Building a biodiversity content management system for science, education, and outreach". Data Science Journal. 4: 1–11. doi:10.2481/dsj.4.1.
  8. ^ “Animal Diversity Web.” Encyclopedia of Life,
  9. ^ “Critter Catalog.” BioKIDS - Kids' Inquiry of Diverse Species, Critter Catalog,
  10. ^ “AmphibiaWeb.” AmphibiaWeb,
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Animal Diversity Web
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