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Great Smoky Mountains National Park
North Carolina and Tennessee


In 1997 we began a study of all living things in the Great Smokies (see Newsweek & Science). This project, an All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI), has the following mission:

"Our purpose is to develop a foundation of knowledge about all species in Great Smoky Mountains National Park to better conserve and manage our natural heritage unimpaired today and for future generations."
Discover Life in America, Inc., was establisted to help support and coordinate the project. Individuals wishing to participate in the ATBI should visit www.discoverlifeinamerica.org.


Great Smokies

Discover Life, this Website, collects and disseminates information to understand, manage, conserve, enjoy, and benefit from the diversity of life on our planet. Discover Life in America, Inc., is a different organization conducting an All Taxa Biodiversity Inventory (ATBI) of Great Smoky Mountains National Park (GSMNP)--a comprehensive study of all the species within the Park. By developing local, national, and international partnerships among educators, researchers, resource managers, and other concerned citizens, the ATBI gives individuals from all walks of life an opportunity to study nature. In helping with the research, school and community participants will get hands-on experience with scientific methods and state-of-the-art technology. Students will do science, use technology, and learn valuable skills such as how to collect, process, and present information in a meaningful way. They will learn to discover the diversity of life and uncover its wonders.

The GSMNP-ATBI will collect information on the distribution, abundance, and natural history of an estimated 100,000 species that inhabit the Park. Our goal is to disseminate information that is useful in resource management, science, education, and recreation. In particular, we wish to make detailed information on the natural history and ecology of all species available to the wider non-specialist audience. We plan to develop interactive identification guides and Web pages for each species. We will make these available through our site's All Living Things section. While completing the ATBI, we will develop methods, train personnel, and form partnerships that will facilitate inventories of other parks and conservation areas. We will not be involved with work on private land.

For background information and conservational concerns in the region, please see The Appalachians.

Planning & Organization

The ATBI is organized into teams responsible for developing plans and coordinating each of the inventory's components. Meeting reports and minutes for this planning process are presented under Events. Here we present the charges, correspondence, and draft documents of the following:

Scientist Yuri Novozhilov (Russia)
Photograph provided by Randy Darrah


Funding Opportunities & Awards


Additional Information

The concept and rationale of the GSMNP-ATBI is outlined in a Prospectus by Phil Francis et al. For information on a pilot study funded by the Friends of the GSMNP please see Insect Diversity Project. For background information on the concept of an ATBI, please see the following links: Taxon Assignment and Trial Species Home Pages.

ATBI Contacts

Individuals wishing to help or seeking additional information should contact Keith Langdon, who coordinates the park's Inventorying and Monitoring Program, Chuck Parker, an aquatic biologist of the Biological Resources Division of the U. S. Geological Survey who is stationed within the park, or John Pickering, a collaborating insect ecologist at the University of Georgia.

We are in the process of adding, updating and reformatting checklists of species that occur in the Park. By the end of our study, we plan to have checklists for all groups in our database that link to pages on the natural history of each species. Please note that what is currently posted may contain errors.

Discover Life contact

  • Nancy Lowe, Outreach Coordinator, Discover Life -- nancy@discoverlife.org -- 404-272-4526

Updated: 6 July, 2010

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