Skip to yearly menu bar Skip to main content


BioCLIP: A Vision Foundation Model for the Tree of Life

Samuel Stevens · Jiaman Wu · Matthew Thompson · Elizabeth Campolongo · Chan Hee Song · David Carlyn · Li Dong · Wasila Dahdul · Charles Stewart · Tanya Berger-Wolf · Wei-Lun Chao · Yu Su

Arch 4A-E Poster #298
[ ]
Fri 21 Jun 10:30 a.m. PDT — noon PDT
Oral presentation: Orals 5A Datasets and evaluation
Fri 21 Jun 9 a.m. PDT — 10:30 a.m. PDT


Images of the natural world, collected by a variety of cameras, from drones to individual phones, are increasingly abundant sources of biological information. There is an explosion of computational methods and tools, particularly computer vision, for extracting biologically relevant information from images for science and conservation. Yet most of these are bespoke approaches designed for a specific task and are not easily adaptable or extendable to new questions, contexts, and datasets. A vision model for general organismal biology questions on images is of timely need. To approach this, we curate and release TreeOfLife-10M, the largest and most diverse ML-ready dataset of biology images. We then develop BioCLIP, a foundation model for the tree of life, leveraging the unique properties of biology captured by TreeOfLife-10M, namely the abundance and variety of images of plants, animals, and fungi, together with the availability of rich structured biological knowledge. We rigorously benchmark our approach on diverse fine-grained biology classification tasks, and find that BioCLIP consistently and substantially outperforms existing baselines (by 17% to 20% absolute). Intrinsic evaluation reveals that BioCLIP has learned a hierarchical representation conforming to the tree of life, shedding light on its strong generalizability. All data, code, and models will be publicly released upon acceptance.

Live content is unavailable. Log in and register to view live content