Australian Polychaeta: taxonomy via www and DELTA
rwilson at mov.vic.gov.au
Fri May 9 01:37:18 EST 1997
Dear annelid list subscribers
This message is to alert you to the existence of web pages describing a
project to produce interactive identification tools for southern
Australian polychaetes. This project has been underway for about 2 years
and the web pages have been created to publicise the project and
especially to solicit constructive critical comment. The URL for this
site is http://www.mov.vic.gov.au/poly and I hope many of you will find
the time to have a look and learn a little about the project. As well as
introductory pages explaining the aims of the project and principal
researchers, visitors to the site will find:
Introductions to many (not yet all) polychaete families, with summary
information about diversity, taxonomic status etc in an Australian context.
Examples (for 3 families at present, Capitellidae, Nephtyidae and
Opheliidae) of character and taxon descriptions. (These files were
generated by data files in the DELTA system. See links on the web site
to learn more about DELTA, which is a DEscriptive Language for TAxonomy
using a suite of programs developed by CSIRO in Australia.)
Compressed .zip files which may be downloaded and enable interactive
identification using the the DELTA program Intkey (at present only
possible for 2 families, Capitellidae and Nephtyidae). The
DELTA program Intkey must be installed first, but these are shareware
programs available from the the DELTA site (http://www.keil.ukans.edu/delta/).
Non-Australians should be aware that although this project does focus on
Australian species (and is mostly directed at soft-sediment taxa from
southern Australia), the Capitellidae DELTA treatment does allow either
"Australian species" or "World genera" to be selected at the start of an
identification. Thus this database should be useful, if only at genus
level, worldwide. Many other family treatments to be posted to this site
over the next weeks and months will also allow genus identifications and
include most or hopefully all all known genera.
One limitation of this project and web site (one of many!) is that it
assumes that users are already able to make family-level
identifications. Another limitation is that interactive identifications
cannot be performed directly from your web browser; you must download and
expand the .zip files and install Intkey on your PC. However, text
descriptions of character states and of genera and species can be read
from a web browser.
Feedback, and constructive criticism, especially from taxonomists
with experience in the families for which data are already presented,
and from users who try the interactive identification files.
Although I do not consider any of the data presented at this site to be
complete (e.g. many character states and taxa still lack illustrations),
nevertheless some level of assessment of the values of this information
should now be possible.
Comments that may be of general interest should be posted to this list,
although the web pages support email links to me and to co-inestigators
and collaborators as appropriate for each family. This project is not
mine alone; Dr Pat Hutchings at the Australian Museum is a major
contributor, and others are contributing to individual families.
Please keep an eye on the web pages, as the content will improve and
become more comprehensive over the coming weeks and months. Major
improvements, such as addition of new family treatments, will be
advertised by a message to this list. Minor corrections and improvements
(such as those in response to the comments I am now expecting!) will be
incorporated quickly and regularly.
I look forward to your comments!
Robin Wilson rwilson at mov.vic.gov.au
Museum of Victoria
71 Victoria Crescent
Abbotsford Victoria telephone 61-3 9284 0216
Australia 3067 fax 61-3 9416 0475
Polychaeta of Australia: http://www.mov.vic.gov.au/poly
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