An article by Alan Boyle in MSNBC’s Cosmic Log discusses How Scientist’s Map the World’s Microbes. The Earth Microbiome Project is a project to collect and analyze microbial communities from areas around the world and map them to their region of origin. In the project website’s own words it is going to be a “massively multidisciplinary effort to analyze microbial communities across the globe”, which requires a large scale coordinated field work effort. However, creating an atlas of the unknown and often thought uncountable microbial communities will take more than large numbers of participants and time to analyze the data. In a refrain understood well by geospatial analysts the project is going to require more computing power.
The Earth Microbiome Project provides an information page for people wanting to be involved in the project including working with samples, analyzing data, or creating new types of analytical tools.