A PROJECT to build an extinct species memorial on Portland will take a big step forward today.

World-leading evolutionary biologist Professor Edward Osborne Wilson will ‘break ground’ at the Mass Extinction Monitoring Observatory (MEMO) site at Bowers Quarry before giving a public talk.

The MEMO project was set up by stone carver Sebastian Brooke and will form a spiral of stone bearing the carved images of all the species to have become extinct in modern times.

The lease for the site at Bowers Quarry has been agreed with the Crown Estate – while architect David Adjaye’s spiral design has been given the go-ahead by Weymouth and Portland Borough Council.

MEMO hopes to bring together understanding of the importance of biodiversity and species extinction.

The EO Wilson Biodiversity Foundation is now a partner of MEMO and the UN Convention on Biological Diversity.

Mr Brooke believes the involvement of Professor Wilson has raised MEMO’s profile.

Following the ground breaking ceremony at 4pm, Professor Wilson will give a talk at the Isle of Portland Aldridge Community Academy at 4.30pm.