AskNature FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)What is AskNature?
AskNature is a bio-inspiration website where innovators can learn from nature's solutions, biologists can find a whole new audience for their research, students can be inspired through science, and collaborators from different disciplines can work together to create innovative, sustainable, bio-inspired designs.
Do I have to sign up for an account?
No, all visitors may browse and use the site.
Why would I want to set up a personal profile account?
Creating an account will allow you to add strategies and products, submit comments, join groups, and participate in discussion forums.
Who can contribute to AskNature?
At this time, only AskNature staff can contribute organism, experts, and reference content to AskNature. Users can contribute photos, strategy pages, and product pages.
How is AskNature funded?
See our Sponsors & Partners page.
What platform is AskNature built on?
We built AskNature on the open-source WiserEarth.org platform. Thanks WiserEarth!
What is The Biomimicry Institute?
The Biomimicry Institute is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to nurture and grow a global community of people who are learning from, emulating, and conserving life's genius to create a healthier, more sustainable planet.
What is the Biomimicry Guild?
The Biomimicry Guild is a not-just-for-profit innovation consultancy. The Guild uses a deep knowledge of biological adaptations to help designers, engineers, architects, and business leaders solve business, design, and engineering challenges sustainably.
What are some recommended reading materials to learn more about biomimicry?
Start with the book that inspired us: Janine Benyus’s Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature. Also look through the Biomimicry Reading List provided on The Biomimicry Institute's website. It will help guide you through the many facets of biomimicry, from basic biology to engineering innovation to deep economy. Select books from the areas that capture your attention most, but also challenge yourself to read from areas outside your discipline.
I’m having problems creating my personal profile. What should I do?
Please send an email to support[at]asknature.org with details about your browser and operating system.
How do I search on AskNature?
There are several ways to search and explore AskNature:
- Use the search box that says "How would Nature...," and click on the magnifying glass. Focus your search by using the drop-down menu to the right of the search box.
- Use the Advanced Search Tools located at the top of each page.
- Use the Browse function to browse strategies, products, and people. The Browse function is the most powerful tool for finding inspiration on AskNature.
Also see our site tutorial.
What is the Biomimicry Taxonomy?
The Biomimicry Taxonomy is a way of describing how organisms meet life's challenges—biology organized by function. See our Biomimicry Taxonomy page to learn more.
There are some categories in the Biomimicry Taxonomy that don’t have any strategies or organisms. Why not?
Eventually, each category will have organisms and strategies associated with it. The current completed strategies represent an emphasis on four particular sustainability challenges—buildings, global health, water, and climate change.
What are strategies?
Strategies are the ways that organisms overcome or meet a particular challenge. For example, to modify light and color, the Morpho butterfly has a particular wing scale architecture. To protect itself from dirt particles, the earthworm uses electro-magnetic flow.
Where did this information come from?
The initial data included on AskNature came from work done by the Biomimicry Guild, in collaboration with ZERI (Zero Emissions Research and Initiatives), UNEP (United Nations Environment Programme), and IUCN (Internation Union for Conservation of Nature), and was donated to The Biomimicry Institute. The Biomimicry Institute also contributed data.
I searched for a species and it wasn't on your site. Why not?
Although there are almost 2 million species names in our database, species names only appear if they are connected to biological strategies.
What are groups?
Groups join people of similar backgrounds or interests. For example, college design school students might want to share their designs among themselves, climate change groups might want to discuss biomimetic options, university biology and engineering classes might want to collaborate on a project, and so on.
Can I get copies of cited papers?
Copies of articles or book excerpts may be accessed at many university and college libraries, through interlibrary loan services at a local library, or sometimes online. Try using Google Scholar or Google Books to find complete papers or excerpts online.
What is Thank a Genius?
We believe thanking the organisms and ecosystems that evolved these ingenious, sustainable ideas is an essential part of biomimicry and right living. Innovation for Conservation is a program channeling investment of a portion of profits derived from bio-inspired innovations towards preserving the organisms and ecosystems that inspired the breakthrough. The fund is supported by bio-inspired companies and inventors, and managed by The Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit organization founded by Janine Benyus. Look for the Thank a Genius button on the strategy pages or go to The Biomimicry Institute's Innovation for Conservation page.