Biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico Database (BioGoMx)
The Biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico Database (BioGoMx) was based on a comprehensive biotic inventory of the Gulf of Mexico sponsored by the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies (HRI), Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, which resulted in the book: Felder, D. L. and D. K. Camp (eds). 2009. Gulf of Mexico–Origins, Waters, and Biota. Biodiversity. Texas A&M Press, College Station, ... Texas. 1393 pp.
The biotic inventory was conducted by 140 taxonomic experts from 80 institutions in 15 countries, who were charged with documenting all living biodiversity in the Gulf of Mexico (GMx), as of 2004. The resulting inventory listed 15,419 species in 40 phyla and divisions, arranged in 77 chapters, each encompassing a phylum, class or other taxonomic group. Each chapter has an introduction to the taxon, a short review of the state of the knowledge on the taxon in general, and in particular in the GMx, a checklist of the living species, and a list of references used to document the species in the GMx, its biology, or taxonomic questions.
For purposes of this project, biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico was defined as that documented to occur in marine habitats, coastal waters and tidal wetlands west of Cabo Catoche, Quintana Roo, Mexico (21°33’N, 87°00’W), that in waters north of a line from Cabo Catoche, Mexico, to Cabo de San Antonio, Cuba (21°51’N, 84°57’W), that from coastal waters and tidal wetlands between Cabo de San Antonio and Punta Hicacos, Cuba (23°12’N, 81°08’W), and that from waters and tidal wetlands of the Florida Straits and Florida Keys on or west of a line from Punta Hicacos, Cuba, to the vicinity of Key Largo, Florida (25°06’N, 80°26’W). This delineation thus included all marine waters and tidal wetlands extending to the eastern extreme of Florida Bay. It excluded Cay Sal Bank as well as the extensive system of islands and estuaries east of Punta Hicacos, Cuba.
The editors of the book attempted to maintain a standard format across the taxonomic groups. The nature of a few taxa, however, required a deviation from the norm, for example the birds lack information on depth range, and parasitic species had the host(s) listed. Because of limited space (on paper), the tabular checklist only allowed a limited space for information. The checklist consisted of six columns listing the updated taxonomy, including all higher taxonomic levels; a few of the more pertinent abbreviations on the habitat and biology; the depth range; the overall geographic range; the distribution within the Gulf of Mexico; and finally some of the pertinent references and end notes explaining taxonomic issues or details on the record of that species.
The species included in each checklist were based on the literature, museum and institutional collections, and observations by professional observers (e.g. in the case of marine mammals). Because of time and space constraints, a listing of the compilation of all records of all species was not possible. Instead, distribution of each species within the GMx was ultimately reported as the expert’s knowledge of the occurrence of the species in four quadrants or eight sectors of the GMx.
The BioGMx database was developed by converting the information in the Felder and Camp book into a database. The original chapter authors were invited to perform the conversion, but only a few (four) authors had the time and/or technical expertise to do so. All of the crustacean chapters (16) were converted by a team of researchers (Gema Armendáriz and Fernando Alvarez) at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), in México City. The remaining 57 chapters were converted by Fabio Moretzsohn, at HRI, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Proofing of the database against the book is currently being performed, and any corrections will be incorporated in Version 2 of the database.
It should be pointed out that the distribution reported in the database DO NOT correspond to individual specimens or observations, but rather represents the probable distribution of the species in the GMx as judged by the expert. In an attempt to refine the resolution of distribution, the GMx distribution was divided in eight sectors and six depth classes. Jorge Brenner, at HRI, developed a set of 48 polygons (8 sectors x 6 depth classes) in a GIS, based on the bathymetry of the GMx, and an arbitrary point, approximately the centroid of each polygon, was assigned to represent each polygon. Potential caveats of this approach include an overestimation of the species true distribution when the GMx distribution was reported (in the book) as occurring in all four quadrants, and in all depth classes spanned by the depth range.
The data available in OBIS-USA includes only the distribution within the GMx and the taxonomy. Some taxa did not have distributional or depth data available, and thus were not available at OBIS.
The complete database, with data on the habitat, biology, depth range, overall distribution, references and endnotes, as well as taxonomy and GMx distribution, is available at GulfBase (www.gulfbase.org). Patrick Michaud, at GulfBase, developed the web services, queries and web interface of the database at GulfBase. Philip Goldstein and Melissa Reed-Eckert, at OBIS-USA, and Edward Vanden Berghe, at IOBIS, assisted in the development of the database for OBIS. More detailed information on the database and its development are also available at GulfBase.
This will direct you to the OBIS-USA web site. Select Participants and Datasets from the panel on the left. Scroll down to BioGoMx and click on the "Go" button on the right for a Dataset Detail screen where you will see a map of dataset contents, and tabs for options to Get Data, see Metadata, or use the Data Dashboard for that dataset.
This is the project homepage for the Biodiversity of the Gulf of Mexico Database. Database description and disclaimer are also available at this url.
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Washington Dept. of Fish and Wildlife
WADFW Puget Sound Ambient Monitoring Program Winter 93
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