Scientists should ensure that high quality research information is readily available on the Internet so society is not dependant on less authoritative sources. Many scientific projects and initiatives publish information on species and biodiversity on the World Wide Web without users needing to pay for it. However, these resources often stagnate when project funding expired. Based on a large pool of experiences worldwide, this article discusses what measures will help such data resources develop beyond the project lifetime.
In the domain of biological classification there are several taxon name matching services that can search for a species scientific name in a large collection of taxonomic names. Many of these services are available online, and many others run on computers of individual scientists. While these systems may work very well, most suffer from the fact that the list of names used as a reference, and the criteria to decide on a match, are hard-coded in the engine that performs the name matching.
The authors present a consensus classification of life to embrace the more than 1.6 million species already provided by more than 3,000 taxonomists’ expert opinions in a unified and coherent, hierarchically ranked system known as the Catalogue of Life (CoL). The intent of this collaborative effort is to provide a hierarchical classification serving not only the needs of the CoL’s database providers but also the diverse public-domain user community, most of whom are familiar with the Linnaean conceptual system of ordering taxon relationships.
The present paper introduces a new method for data gathering using digital tablets in the field. The method is part of a fisheries study aimed at identifying migration patterns and breeding sites of key commercial fish species in Myanmar. The research is based on systematic and structured gathering of local knowledge along a 1,000 km long segment of the Ayeyarwady River, from the southern Delta to the northern Central Dry Zone. Digital tablets are used to convert local indigenous knowledge into data.
An overview of FishBase and SeaLifebase was given.
Modern databases can be successfully used to develop computer-based identification systems. In a first case study, fish larvae were identified with an average of three easily obtained characters. In a second case study, 17 fish diseases out of 20 were diagnosed directly, using an average of six gross signs of a disease.
Simple identification tools for fish species were included in the FishBase information system from its inception. Early tools made use of the relational model and characters like fin ray meristics. Soon pictures and drawings were added as a further help, similar to a field guide. Later came the computerization of existing dichotomous keys, again in combination with pictures and other information, and the ability to restrict possible species by country, area, or taxonomic group. Today, www.FishBase.org offers four different ways to identify species.
This paper aims to demonstrate the use of global marine biodiversity databases, such as SeaLifeBase and Fishbase, to provide a preliminary assessment of marine biodiversity in the Philippines, where it is at its apex. SeaLifeBase, a joint activity of the Sea Around Us project of the University of British Columbia and the WorldFish Center, is patterned after the popular online database on fish, FishBase.
Fish museums across the world are a repository of historical data on fish abundance and occurrence. These occurrence points when mapped provide a picture of present-day and earlier fish distribution. The accuracy of the map will depend on how exhaustive the museum collection is for the area, and also on the museums’ collection practices (comprehensiveness and survey design).
In order to improve our understanding of aquatic biodiversity, it is proposed that the huge amount of existing data on the occurrence of aquatic species in space and time be incorporated in a single database. Such data are available in museum, collections, research vessel surveys, tagging studies, the scientific literature, and a variety of other sources, often in digitized form. The database would be distributed on CD-ROM with annual upgrades.