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.
An overview of FishBase and SeaLifebase was given.
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.
FishBase is an electronic encyclopaedia and database containing information on fish, including growth, mortality, distribution, nomenclature and other parameters. The large amount of data in the system now permits its manipulation to test hypotheses related to taxonomy which has resulted in a new subdiscipline called metataxonomy. The development of interactive graphs has provided a powerful tool for many disciplines related to ichthyology and biodiversity.
Fishbase is an electronic encyclopedia on fish being developed at ICLARM with the cooperation of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and funded by the Commission of European Communities. To date, Fishbase contains key information for about 12000 fish species globally, including about 2800 species of the Oceania region. Fishbase is available on CD-ROM for personal computers with Window 3.1 or later. A design for an Oceania Biodiversity Information System is presented and the integrated of Fishbase into such a system is discussed.
The International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) in collaboration with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and with the support of the Commission of the European Communities is developing a database (called FISHBASE) to summarize global information on living aquatic resources (fish, crustaceans and molluscs) in a standardized form to be made available on CD-ROM to institutions in developing countries.
Fishbase provides data, descriptive text and color pictures of fish and maps showing their distribution. The paper discusses future directions for the documentation of genetic resources for aquaculture with reference to Fishbase and other activities.