Browse the Map of Life

If you're not sure which Topic to search for, you can always just browse through the Categories, until you find what you are looking for, or see something that interests you.

The Categories listed in the database at the moment are shown below. Numbers in brackets show how many Topics are currently assigned to this Category.
Category Short description
Agriculture (15) Cultivating crops, often as monocultures, weeding, applying fertilizer and if necessary herbicides o... →
Amphibians (20) The name ‘amphibian’ refers to the two-stage life cycles of all these animals, typically... →
Anatomy (112) In some ways, animals are like machines, with skeletons, pumps, lungs, blood systems and yes, penise... →
Annelid worms (14) The Annelida (from Latin "annellus", meaning little ring) are a large animal phylum comprising segme... →
Arthropods: Insects (90) Arthropods are the most diverse and abundant organisms on Earth, and comprise an estimated 90% of an... →
Arthropods: other than Insects (46) Arthropods are the most diverse and abundant organisms on Earth, and comprise an estimated 90% of an... →
Bacteria (30) Bacteria are single celled micro-organisms of astonishing diversity and abundance that first appeare... →
Behaviour (53) All organisms show behaviour to a certain extent. In animals, behavioural responses are often comple... →
Biochemistry (52) The vital processes that occur in every living cell depend on chemical interactions between biologic... →
Birds (52) With around 10,000 living species, the birds are the largest class of tetrapod vertebrates. They are... →
Brachiopods (10) Brachiopods are benthic marine invertebrates with a pair of shells or 'valves' and a tenta... →
Brains & Intelligence (26) The animal central nervous system is believed to have a single origin, i.e. to be monophyletic. Some... →
Bryozoans (6) The phylum Bryozoa (also known as Ectoprocta) is a group of tiny, colonial, primarily marine inverte... →
Cnidarians (15) Cnidarians are simple, aquatic multi-cellular animals ('metazoans') with a body made of on... →
Colouration (12) Nature often comes in bright colours - think of the vibrant plumage displayed by male birds, the exp... →
Communication (19) Communication refers to the transmission of information, and it is unsurprisingly ubiquitous amongst... →
Culture & Tool Use (13) Culture is not an exclusively human phenomenon. Other animal societies have also evolved culture - l... →
Defence (34) Defending yourself is absolutely crucial when you are an animal preyed upon by a predator or a plant... →
Dicyemids (Mesozoans) (1) Dicyemids are millimetric, worm-like ('vermiform') animals that are endoparasitic, typical... →
Echinoderms (6) The phylum Echinodermata comprises a diverse group of marine invertebrates that are almost all benth... →
Ecology (28) Ecology, derived from the Greek word "oikos" (meaning home) is the scientific study of the distribut... →
Ecomorphs (22) Ecomorphs (or "ecological morphotypes") represent classic and particularly straightforward examples ... →
Enzymes (16) Enzymes are proteins that function as biocatalysts. They accelerate biochemical reactions, often all... →
Eyes & other Visual Systems (44) The eye, so central to human existence, expression and emotion, is one of the main Darwinian paradig... →
Feeding (68) Feeding is, of course, crucial for all heterotrophic organisms, which cannot derive their energy fro... →
Fish (45) Fish are the largest vertebrate group with more than 30,000 species. They show an amazing diversity,... →
Fungi & Lichens (27) Fungi exist as single celled yeasts or multicellular structures made of filamentous tubes or 'h... →
Health & Medicine (12) Convergence is apparent in various situations where organisms have evolved to deal with dangerous th... →
Locomotion (25) Many features of animal locomotion, from burrowing to gliding, show clear evidence of convergence. R... →
Mammals (89) Mammals are probably the best-known animal group, maybe partly so because we belong to them. Althoug... →
Metabolism (20) Metabolism refers to the many chemical reactions that take place in living organisms to fuel the bio... →
Mimicry (12) Mimicry is employed for numerous reasons, and in many ways is the most obvious example of convergenc... →
Molecular Biology (47) The paths of evolutionary change at the molecular level frequently result in convergent solutions. E... →
Molluscs: Cephalopods (39) The Cephalopoda are a group of molluscs characterised by large heads, muscular tentacles (modificati... →
Molluscs: other than Cephalopods (24) Molluscs comprise a phylum of invertebrates that inhabit mainly marine but also freshwater and terre... →
Nematode worms (6) Nematodes or roundworms are one of the most numerous animal groups. In just a handful of soil, one c... →
Parasitism (12) Upon hearing the word parasite, most people probably think of rather nasty creatures, such as the ma... →
Photosynthesis (9) Many examples of convergence relating to photosynthesis exist, from patterns of plastid gene transfe... →
Physiology (66) Physiology refers to how living systems function from molecules to cells, tissues, organs and whole ... →
Plants & Algae (59) "Algae" is a general term that refers to an extremely diverse group of photosynthetic organisms, mos... →
Proteins (37) Proteins are amino acid polymers with myriad roles in creating and maintaining cell shape and struct... →
Protistans (17) Protistans are a remarkably diverse group of single-celled organisms, all of which are eukaryotic (p... →
Reptiles (70) Traditionally, reptiles are taken to be a paraphyletic group, i.e. a group that does not include all... →
Respiration (10) The process of respiration is absolutely essential for life and for the most part we think of oxidat... →
Rotifers (3) The phylum Rotifera contains more than 2000 species. Rotifers are a group of microscopic multicellul... →
Senses (47) An organism's senses connect it to the outside world and are essential in allowing it to react ... →
Sex & Reproduction (42) Reproduction is the most crucial aspect of an organism's life as it ensures that its genes are ... →
Sociality (21) Many organisms show some form of social behaviour or cooperative activity, ranging from simple bacte... →
Sponges (5) The sessile sponges, which had appeared by the Early Cambrian (and possibly substantially earlier), ... →
Symbiosis & Endosymbiosis (23) A symbiosis, derived from the Greek words "syn" (meaning with) and "biosis" (meaning living), is an ... →
Teeth (22) Teeth are essential for many animals, as they are used to break down food (and sometimes for other p... →
Tunicates (Urochordata) (7) The tunicates (or sea squirts) are a diverse marine group with more than 2000 living species. Consti... →
Viruses (1) Even viruses can provide insights into convergence - in fact, the extent of viral convergence is pro... →
Vocalization & Song (9) Vocalization (a form of animal communication that involves the vocal cords or equivalent such as the... →

Go to the top of the page