A new bilingual online information system created by D. Ross Robertson, staff scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, and Coeus Knowledge Systems makes it possible for conservationists, sport fishers, tourists, researchers, students and resource managers to identify and generate publishable maps for 1,287 tropical eastern Pacific shore fish species. Shorefishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific Online Information System is hosted by the Bioinformatics Office of the institute and available online at two sites: www.stri.org/sftep and www.neotropicalfishes.org/sftep.
Non-scientists can easily identify fish species using common name searches, or a tool that allows entry of information on a fish's location, shape and color. Each species' page includes text descriptions, photographs and maps of occurrence range. Highlighted text indicates salient features that distinguish one species from other. People can compare images of similar species, and immediately download photos. If there are photo-usage restrictions, contact information is provided.
This is the most complete record of the geographic distributions and biology of an entire fauna of shore fishes in a single database for any biogeographic region in the world, according to Robertson, who wrote the book, Fishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific, with Gerald R. Allen, in 1994. After the book was published, Robertson received funds from the Smithsonian's Women's Committee to create an interactive CD. Support from the Smithsonian Marine Science Network paid for the programming and development of this online system.
Maps can be generated in color or in black and white. Geographic range size can be calculated on the basis of pixels, which represent 4-kilometer by 4-kilometer areas, or by using point-of-occurrence records. Robertson checks all location reports and deletes likely wild cards, creating
|Contact: Beth King|
Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute