EOL Application Programming Interface (API) Overview

The EOL API lets you embed the functionality of EOL into your own website and tools, helping to make EOL an ingredient in biodiversity applications.

Please see our Terms of Use for more information on the EOL API. 

For information on linking to EOL, please see Linking to EOL from Your Website.

As we make updates or changes to the API, we will notify you by posting on this page.  For questions or requests regarding the API, please join the EOL API Discussion Group.

If you expect to use the API heavily, please generate an API key and make sure to add it to your API calls. Login or create an EOL account to generate an API key from your Preferences page.

For information on how to download TraitBank data, please see the TraitBank home page.

Examples

Species of the Day Widget

The National Museum of Natural History used the EOL Collections API to create a widget for their home page that displays a new species (or higher group of organisms) every day with a thumbnail photo and an interesting fact. Viewers can click through to an archive and can suggest their own Species of the Day. This code is available for other projects to modify and use for their own web pages.

iNaturalist Species Observations Widget and Mobile App

iNaturalist.org uses the EOL Collections API to create mobile species checklists. Users can create a collection on EOL.org (or use an exisiting collection) and add it to the EOL iNaturalist Collection to create an interactive species checklist. 

Birds of DC Exhibit Website and Mobile App

The "Birds of DC" website and mobile application are an extenstion of the "Birds of the District of Columbia," an exhibition at the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution (NMNH). "Birds of DC" uses the EOL API to pull in text, images, sounds and video from eol.org.

The TerraMar Project

The TerraMar Project, an organization that aims to create and empower a global community of ocean citizens, uses the EOL API to pull in text and images into their website.

EOL Ecosystem Explorer

The EOL Ecosystem Explorer provides a easy way to create engaging graphs of species interactions within an ecosystem.The Explorer tool uses a D3 Javascript framework, and the EOL API to pull in text, names and images. While this tool is under development, you can view an example ecosystem.

EOL Field Guides

The EOL Field Guide tool lets you create customized field guides based on content from EOL and other sources. The Field Guides application uses the Collections API to generate guides from lists of species in EOL Collections. The application also uses the Pages and other APIs to retrieve text and images that are then stored in a separate Field Guide database. For information about how the EOL Field Guides are using the EOL APIs, Contact EOL Learning + Education.

EOL Bingo

The EOL Bingo tool allows users to create an online or print format Bingo game using any EOL Collection of images. This tool uses the Collections API

EOL Memory Games

The EOL Memory Game application provides a way to create the classic memory game where the goal is to find matching pairs of images from a set. Memory games can be created from any EOL collection that contains at least 10 taxa or images. The application uses the Collections and Pages API.

M-EOL Game for iOS

M-EOL is a game for Apple iPads that challenges players to identify which species live in selected continents. The application uses EOL APIs to populate a set of packaged games that are then assembled into an iOS app. The game is available for free in the Apple App Store.

VoLE: Viewer of Life in EOL

VoLE uses the hierarchy_e ntries api to retrieve taxa as the user browses the classification. For each new taxon, it calls the pages api to fetch text and images. See eolapi.js to see how jQuery ajax methods are used to perform these API requests. Then, take a look at eoltreemap.js to see how the data from the API is used to create a tree structure in memory, which is displayed in a user interface based on the Javascript Infovis Toolkit's Treemap.

The Cell: An Image Library

The Cell: An Image Library uses the EOL search_by_ provider api to retrieve the EOL page ids that are associated with a given NCBI Taxon value. The Library contains cellular microscopy images which have been annotated with various ontology terms including NCBI taxons. If a particular cell image's NCBI Taxon term is associated with an EOL page, then an EOL graphical link to that EOL page is displayed next to the NCBI term on that cell image page in the Library.

EarthCape

EarthCape is a set of software tools for recording, management, sharing and publication of biodiversity data. EarthCape currently utilizes the EOL Search API to retrieve EOL IDs for taxonomic names and subsequently show the respective EOL page in a separate tab for the currently selected name. EarthCape is currently in a testing phase; you can contact EarthCape directly for more information.

Spiders of Lewis and Clark

The Spiders of Lewis and Clark website uses the EOL API to pull in a hierarchy, unique identifiers, and links from eol.org. This project was developed by Greta Binford's BIO 100 Course (Fall 2010) and Watzek Library Digital Initiatives at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon.