20 January 2009
A new open-system software package for the analysis of geographic distribution of animals and plants has been launched by Conservation International (CI) in Brazil. This innovative technology will help the scientific community identify priority areas for environmental conservation based on geographical patterns of species.
Croizat uses a panbiogeographic approach, one of the main areas of research of biogeography, which is the study of the distribution of living creatures on our planet. Before the software was launched, there was no standard, general-purpose software for the analysis of distributional data under the panbiogeographic method, which was created by the Franco-Italian botanist Léon Croizat (1894-1982).
The idea behind panbiogeography is that biotas, or the total of animals and plants in a particular area, evolve through geography barriers. The Croizat is based on the same analytical model of many Geographic Information Systems (GIS), but rather than concentrating on database and graphics flexibility, the Croizat is designed to perform specialist biological analyses, many of which are not available from GIS.
The program is written in Python coupled with the portable, multi-platform wxPython interface management library, and other free external libraries also written in Python and C/C++ (NetworkX, PIL, NumPy, Matplotlib and its Basemap module). The Croizat is platform-independent, and should run on any PC compatible with x86 architecture, under GNU/Linux, Mac OS X, and MS-Windows.