Imagine trying to catalog every living thing in your backyard. Where would you begin? How could you be sure you found every insect and plant, every tiny burrowing critter and every bird in the sky? Now imagine doing the same thing for an entire island – and the waters around it. That’s exactly what researchers with the Moorea Biocode Project are attempting. Divided into teams, the researchers fan out across the island from mountaintop to seafloor to collect one of every life form big enough to pick up with tweezers. By the end, they expect to have collected specimens, taken photographs, and completed DNA identifications (“barcodes”) for between five and ten thousand species. The tally is growing daily, and the results will allow them to examine questions about changes affecting the whole globe, like sea-level rise and invasive species.