SHOREFISHES OF THE TROPICAL EASTERN
AN INFORMATION SYSTEM Version 1.0
D Ross Robertson Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute
Gerald R Allen Conservation International
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CD price - $10.00 plus shipping
Kim F Navin Vagabond Odyssey
This system employs an intuitive graphical user interface to
provide intensive query and analysis capabilities through an
integrated suite of programs that link fish images, data on
biology and zoogeography, and low-level GIS information. It
uses a 32 bit (MS Windows2000/NT) platform. It is designed to
run under Windows 95 or later MS operating systems, or Windows
NT 4.0 with Service Pack 3.The system is generic, and readily
adaptable to other groups of organisms in other regions.
A PC with at least a 500MHz processor; 64MB of RAM; a screen
resolution of at least 1024X768. Installation of the entire
system requires 750MB of hard disc space.
This system combines two capabilities: (i) A comprehensive interactive
identification guide for almost 1,200 coastal fishes in a biogeographic
region with one of the highest rates of endemism in the world
(80% of the resident inshore tropical fishes). (ii) An interactive
research tool that allows analyses of faunal structure at varying
spatial scales, using species-level databases on zoogeography
Dual language interfaces
The single CD-ROM includes separate, full-capability English
and Spanish interfaces.
Geographic and faunal coverage
This work covers 1,195 species (in 475 genera and 133 families)
of shallow-living (<100m depth) coastal and near-shore pelagic
species known from the tropical eastern Pacific (TEP). That
region includes the continental shoreline extending from southern
Baja (Mexico), through the lower and central Gulf of California
and southward to Cabo Blanco (northern Peru), as well as 5 oceanic
islands and island groups (the Revillagigedos, Clipperton, Cocos,
Malpelo and the Galapagos). This region includes the coastlines
of 10 central and south American countries: Mexico, Guatemala,
El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama, Colombia,
Ecuador, and Peru.
CONTENTS AND ANALYTICAL FEATURES
This provides information on the coverage of the system, and
sections on work on the systematics of fishes in the region,
the zoogeography, biology and ecology of the regional fauna;
as well as a description of the systemís characteristics, and
Information on fish taxa
Information on the members of the fauna is provided through
interlinked species, genus and family pages. Genera and species
are ordered alphabetically within each of the families, which
are systematically arranged. Taxon pages can be accessed by
(i) browsing through each level, (ii) from within an expandable
systematic tree (options include alphabetic or systematic ordering,
use of common or scientific names), (iii) from within a "Book"
mode (species within genera within families), or (iv) selection
of taxa from pull-down lists of species, genera and families.
Each Family and Genus page includes: a brief introduction to
the systematics, biology and distribution of the family; a text
description of distinguishing morphological features; a database
map of the taxon's range-limits distribution in the TEP (assembled
on-the-fly from distributions of component species); a list
of component genera and species with links to their pages; an
image of a representative species that has a key-feature overlay
indicating diagnostic features of the taxon; a compare similar
taxa feature that provides links to the pages of taxa with similar
Species pages follow the same format as genus and family pages.
In addition they include multiple images of dissimilar life-stages
(e.g. juvenile, female, male, color morphs); a simultaneous
comparison of similar species feature that provides images (with
key-feature overlays) of up to 6 species designated as similar
by the authors. Species' attribute data in the databases can
also be accessed from species pages; these include data on systematics,
zoogeographic characteristics (distribution within and outside
the region, residency), maximum size, feeding group, diet, depth
range, habitat use (salinity, types of substrata, Fishbase habitats)
and reproductive mode.
This tool facilitates identification or unfamiliar fishes by
both scientific and general users through 4 independent features:
Find-a-fish: the user can choose among
any or all of the following in any order (with the ability to
backup steps) - location (at varying spatial scales on a database
map), characteristics of the fish (shape, color pattern, size)
and of its habitat (depth, salinity, bottom type etc). Search
results are linked to images and to species pages.
Interactive keys: Illustrated stepwise keys are provided for
the genera and species in the two most speciose families in
the fauna: Gobiidae (88 species in 27 genera) and Sciaenidae
(78 species in 25 genera). Search results link to genus and
Taxon-image comparisons: This allows simultaneous comparison
of images of up to 6 families, genera or species selected from
pull-down lists. Resultant images are linked to taxon pages.
Common-name search: Searches can be
made for families, genera and species from pull-down lists of
common names (at species, genus and family levels), with results
linked to taxon pages.
Maps and Lists Engine
This engine includes 4 features:
Range-map comparisons: This provides
overlaid displays of the regional-ranges of up to 5 taxa (species,
genera or families, or a mixture thereof) selected from pull-down
Construction of simple faunal lists: Exportable/printable family/genus/species
lists can be generated for locations at scales ranging from
individual islands or sections of coastline, through countries
and provinces to the entire TEP. Lists can be arranged alphabetically
or systematically. They include both single-location lists and
lists of taxa found or not found at two locations. Species lists
can also be constructed using a combination of location plus
single species' attributes.
Construction of endemism X attribute species lists:
Exportable location lists can be generated using a combination
of one category of endemism plus a category of any attribute.
Regional patterns of species richness:
This provides maps with color-coded overlays of patterns of
variation in species richness throughout the region, including
absolute richness of individual families and richness of species
sharing a single attribute. These are assembled on-the-fly from
species-range maps in the database. Location lists (alphabetic
or systematic ordering) are available from the richness maps.
Searches of databases on biological and zoogeographic attributes
Users can query the databases in three ways:
Simple questions: Exportable lists
are generated of members of genera and families, and of species
in the regional fauna that share single attributes. Listed names
are linked to taxon pages.
Complex questions: Exportable lists
are generated of species in the regional fauna that share combinations
of 2 or more attributes.
Generate new questions: Users familiar
with the database structure and SQL can modify existing inbuilt
queries to generate new ones.
The library database includes 1,013 citations. These cover primarily
the systematics of the fauna but also include references relating
to zoogeography, ecology and evolution. Exportable lists can
be assembled for individual families, genera and species, and
for authors, dates, sources, or from a scrollable list of the
entire, alphabetically arranged bibliography.
A basic glossary is provided that employs images + text explanations
of 233 scientific terms relating primarily to morphological
characteristics of fishes used in their identification.
This Checklist of fishes of the tropical eastern Pacific, which
is an independent unit in the CD, uses a book-style database
interface to provide information on the systematics of some
1,400 species of fishes and access to its library. This checklist
was assembled by Melvin Wilson.
Contributors and Credits
Major contributors to information presented on
each family are noted on family pages.
All images are accompanied by appropriate ownership credits,
with an email contact.
The image database incorporates 2,852 images. These include
2,202 color photographs that cover 82% of the species in the
A screen-saver presents the color images in a randomized order.