Coding for Life: Designing a platform for projecting and protecting global biodiversity

Mark C. Urban* (Corresponding Author), Justin Travis, Greta Bocedi, Alice Scarpa, Damaris Zurell, Patrick L Thompson, Nicholas Synes, Pedro Peres-Neto, Anne-Kathleen Malchow, Patrick James, Dominique Gravel, Luc De Meester, Calum Brown, Cécile Albert, Andrew Gonzalez, Andrew P. Hendry

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)
2 Downloads (Pure)


Time is running out to limit further devastating losses of biodiversity and nature's contributions to humans. Addressing this crisis requires accurate predictions about which species and ecosystems are most at risk to ensure efficient use of limited conservation and management resources. We review existing biodiversity projection models and discover problematic gaps. Current models usually cannot easily be reconfigured for other species or systems, omit key biological processes, and cannot accommodate feedbacks with Earth system dynamics. To fill these gaps, we envision an adaptable, accessible, and universal biodiversity modeling platform that can project essential biodiversity variables, explore the implications of divergent socioeconomic scenarios, and compare conservation and management strategies. We design a roadmap for implementing this vision and demonstrate that building this biodiversity forecasting platform is possible and practical.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)91-104
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Early online date27 Oct 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022

Bibliographical note

This article originates from a working group supported by the Quebec Centre for Biodiversity Science and the University of Connecticut Center of Biological Risk. National Science Foundation grants no. DEB 1555876 and no. PLR-1417754 and the Arden Chair in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology supported MCU. The German Science Foundation DFG grant no. ZU-361/1–1 supported DZ and AKM.

Erratum: Coding for Life: Designing a Platform for Projecting and Protecting Global Biodiversity (BioScience DOI: 10.1093/biosci/biab099)

Data Availability Statement

Supplemental data are available at BIOSCI online.


  • biodiversity
  • forecasting
  • global change
  • modeling
  • mechanistic


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