"The" fish atlas for economic stimulus

GLENN HOLM karuzis at wccf.mit.edu
Wed Apr 21 20:52:00 EST 1993

In article <1r2nor$m1n at nigel.msen.com>, emv at garnet.msen.com (Edward Vielmetti) writes...
>S. A. Modena (samodena at csemail.cropsci.ncsu.edu) wrote:
>: This little exposition is neither pro nor con on anything other than to say
>: that when "scientific" funding is held up to scrutiny in the light of day,
>: it's none-to-hard to make us look like shit....and I can't ethically or
>: morally think of how funding for yet-another-variant of a fish atlas (4 to
>: 5 inches thick) is justifiable as an "emergency" appropriation!
>If you find the people responsible get them to put the fish atlas on the
>Internet!  Apply a WAIS server and/or a Gopher server to the graphics and
>the text, I bet you'd end up with something plenty of people on the net
>would use.
>Think of all those new fish for screen savers :)
>  Edward Vielmetti, vice president for research, Msen Inc. emv at Msen.com
>Msen Inc., 628 Brooks, Ann Arbor MI  48103 +1 313 998 4562 (fax: 998 4563)

<the result of a little gophering - Limbaugh obviously can't get beyond
reading his mail on Compu$erve>>

Subj:	Neodat Newsletter No. 1, 16 April 1992

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Number 1                                                 April 16, 1992

Dear Colleagues,

     This newsletter is to provide a format for
communication between the Neotropical Database
Project and the ichthyological community.  This is the
first of what we intend to distribute to both project
participants and the fish community in general as a
means of providing information about project status,
recent developments, etc.

     We would like to thank those who have helped get
the project off the ground, especially Bill Eschmeyer for
sharing a portion of his World List of Species of Fishes


     The Neotropical Database Project (NEODAT) is a
multi-institutional effort to build a centralized
international database of collection records on
neotropical freshwater fishes.  The project is funded by
NSF between the Academy of Natural Sciences of
Philadelphia (ANSP, Scott Schaefer, PI), University of
Michigan (UMMZ, William Fink, PI) and Cornell
University (CU, Julian Humphries, PI), administrated
through ANSP.  The purpose is to make available
systematic and geographic data on neotropical
freshwater fish specimens deposited in various
collections in North, Central, and South America as well
as Europe in order to improve the infrastructure for
research on neotropical freshwater fishes.

     COVERAGE.- All institutions with neotropical fish
collections are invited to participate.  We have
commitments from 25 institutions to date, representing
over 320,000 lots of neotropical fishes:

 Institution   Coverage(1)    Size(2)   Computerization

North America:
     USNM     C&S America     37,000     in progress
     FMNH             "       35,000     in progress
     UMMZ     Mexico, S.A.    21,600     complete
     CAS      Brazil, Peru    20,000     in progress
     ANSP     Venezuela,      14,000     complete
     INHS     Brazil,          8,000     complete
     MCZ      Brazil,          7,000     in progress
     UF       Venezuela        4,400     complete

     ROM      Peru,            1,600     in progress
              Guyanas, C.A.
     CU       S. America       1,000     complete
     KU       Ecuador,         1,000     in progress
              Venezuela, Chile

     NHRM     Guianas,         5,000     in progress
     MNHN     S. America         ?       complete

Latin America:
     MLP      Argentina       20,000     none
     MZUSP    Brazil          44,000     none
     MNRJ     Brazil          12,000     in progress
     MCP      Brazil          16,000     in progress
     FURG     Brazil           2,000     none
     IZUA     Chile             ?        none
     UCR      Costa Rica      21,000     none
     EPN      Ecuador         12,000     none
     UNAM     Mexico           6,000     complete
     MUSM     Peru             8,000     none
     MBUCV    Venezuela       25,000     none
     MCNG     Venezuela       24,000     complete

Notes:  (1)  Major geographic regions represented in collection.
        (2)  Approximate # catalogued lots neotropical freshwater fishes.

     NEODAT will compile data from participants in a
centralized database.  Eight participants at several sites
in Latin America will receive computer workstations,
MUSE, and training for capturing their collection data
in computer format.  Other institutions with data in
computer format are invited to participate by having
their data represented in the project.  NEODAT is based
on MUSE, the NSF-sponsored collections database
management system, however, we are accepting data in
ASCII-convertible formats (such as those used at
USNM, INHS, etc.).  Potential participants interested in
receiving MUSE are invited to contact the project and
request an application form.

     ACCESS.- The centralized database will be available
via  remote computer communications through UMMZ
and ANSP.  Copies of the database will be distributed to
participants to ensure availability to in-country
scientists with limited access to international

     FEATURES.- The project will provide several features
to the database and resources to the ichthyological
community above and beyond simply compiling data
records.  These include GIS mapping interface, type
species and locality database, taxonomic dictionary,
standardization and literature databases.

* Geographic Information System:  A GIS interface will
be developed and integrated with MUSE to allow
geographically-based queries and production of
publication-quality distribution maps based on
collection records.  The engine will be provided by
FishMap, a mapping program developed by Paulo
Buckup and currently in use at ANSP, EPA, UMMZ,
MCZ, and FMNH.

* Species Nomenclature Database:  In cooperation with
William Eschmeyer (CAS), NEODAT is currently
building a database of systematics nomenclature and
collection information on all nominal species of
neotropical freshwater fishes.

* Taxonomic Dictionary:  A hierarchic nomenclature file
for handling synonyms and classification is currently
being developed by the MUSE Project, with 10,000
records entered to date.  Together with the Type
Locality Database, these will be invaluable research

* Type Localities Database:  Using the same structure as
the Locality file, the Type Localities file will
include information on type locality of each nominal
species and will be related to the Species and Literature
files.  Both the Type Locality and specimen locality files
will be at the heart of the FishMap interface to MUSE.

* Type Literature Database:  A file of information
derived from the original publications of all nominal
species, linked to the Species Dictionary and Type
Localities files.  As a by-product of this effort,
NEODAT is assembling a nearly complete collection of
original species descriptions.  This resource will be
available to visiting scientists and by request via the
mail with postage and photocopy reimbursement.

* Primary File:  Same as in MUSE, modified for
multiple institutions, the main file containing collection
specific data for each catalogued lot.  By using the same
format as MUSE, NEODAT will offer the same
functionality already available to MUSE users.
Participants will essentially have their local database
expanded by having access to the multi-institutional
NEODAT secondary database.

* Locality File:  Same as in MUSE, collection locality
data, collector, field number, geographic data, gear, etc.

*  International Standards:  NEODAT is currently
developing guidelines for establishing standards for
geographic identifiers used in entering locality data,
such as river drainage, country and state names for
international compatibility.  A Hierarchical Geographic
Dictionary and Hierarchical Dictionary of Neotropical
River Drainages are being developed.


     NEODAT is presently building the Literature
Database, purchasing computer workstations for
shipment to selected participants in Latin America, and
configuring MUSE versions for project participants in
general.  The foundation for the literature work is
provided by the resources of the ANSP Bvhlke Reprint
Collection.  We would appreciate receiving reprints of
recent publications from colleagues actively working on
systematics of neotropical freshwater fishes.  We thank
Rich Vari for sharing a portion of his neotropical
literature citations database.  We are striving to cover
the complete literature on neotropical freshwater fishes
and, to that end, we would appreciate receiving
literature references (if not photocopies as well) to
species published in particularly obscure or hard to find

     We have already acquired computer workstations for
shipment to Latin American participants and have
configured them with custom MUSE versions.  We
expect to begin shipping workstations during April,
1992.  Work on the enhancements to MUSE and the GIS
interface is in progress.

:We have already received collection data from some
Central and South American institutions.  Work on the
software, MUSE and GIS components will accelerate in
the spring of 1992 and we will then announce
availability of data from selected sites.

     A MUSE-based 

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