Smokies ‘Species Mapper’ predicts where plants, animals live

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The Great Smoky Mountains National Park is using supercomputers to predict where different plants and animals can be found in the park.

The result is a web application called Species Mapper that park officials hope will help them to protect park resources. But visitors can also use it to explore what lives in the park and what they might see during a visit.

According to the park, Species Mapper uses supercomputers managed by the University of Tennessee/Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Joint Institute for Computational Sciences to crunch vast amounts of data and make predictions about the distribution of different park species.

Data on those species was collected over decades through observation and research studies.

Over 19,000 different species have been recorded in the Smokies, with 1,000 of those first discovered there.


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