AQUASPECIES WORKSHOP

The first workshop was held in May 25-27, 2006 at The WorldFish Center - Philippine Office in Los Baños, Laguna , Philippines. It was co-sponsored with the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and had the following objectives:

  1. To present to a core group of experts and/or database owners a prototype FishBase-like (www.fishbase.org) portal that will contain key information on over 50,000 species with complete coverage of fishes, algae, cephalopods, sea birds, hexacorals and marine mammals;
  2. To improve the prototype portal;
  3. To convince experts and/or database owners to collaborate and enrich the prototype portal by contributing data from their databases;
  4. To identify other collaborators and/or groups who are custodians of similar databases but who still do not have a web presence and who might wish to either contribute their databases to the SeaLifeBase database or participate in the ‘SeaLife Portal’.

The key information mentioned in (1) includes: scientific names with synonymies and with common names in many languages, such as provided by the respective species databases and the Catalogue of Life program; distribution by standardized categories (FAO areas, large marine ecosystems, countries) as well as in free-text form; maximum size; trophic level; free-text about biology; photos; deep-links into the contributing database as well as into other sources of relevant information, such as Genbank and the IUCN Red List. GBIF taxon occurrence data will also be available in the form of lists and point maps such as currently available in GBIF.

The workshop was attended by 35 participants from 16 institutions representing 3 global species databases (GSDs): 3 regional, 2 thematic and 1 collections databases. The workshop led to the following agreements:

  1. Name of the portal: ‘SeaLife Portal’;
  2. A commitment by the managers of the participating global species databases to present their data through the Sea Life Portal. This will make possible the display of data from AlgaeBase, FishBase, Hexacorallians and SeaLifeBase;
  3. A work-plan towards providing the online version of the SeaLife Portal by the end of 2007 for the different taxonomic and global faunistic databases of marine organisms currently existing;
  4. SeaLifeBase will cover the transfer of groups not covered by databases mentioned in (3) into electronic format.

Examples of respective species summary pages are given here for fish and for marine mammals. The SeaLife Portal will run, initially, from existing FishBase servers at IfM-GEOMAR and Taiwan and possibly at Rutgers University (OBIS Server) at a later stage. Integration into the GBIF portal is envisaged as being done by showing the original SeaLife page drawn from the SeaLife servers within a frame in a new GBIF portal page; this deals with copyright issues of, e.g., photos, and also allows GBIF to add information around the frame. This new ‘Species Bank’ service can be linked to several places within the GBIF portal, e.g., whenever names of species are shown.



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