Dynamic searches of the Neogene marine biota of tropical America (NMITA) World-Wide Web database; Geological Society of America, 1998 annual meeting
Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America
The reliability of any survey of biodiversity through geologic time depends on the consistent identification of taxa. The main goal of the NMITA project is to create an on-line biotic database containing high-quality images and synoptic taxonomic information essential to maintaining this consistency, and provide an image-based inventory of taxa collected as part of rigorous fossil sampling programs documenting marine biodiversity in Tropical America over the past 20 million years. NMITA thus serves as a paleontological data bank useful in evaluating controversial research results. It represents a starting point for reconstructing the phylogenies of selected clades, and is instrumental in pointing out diverse and influential clades in need of future systematic study. Information is currently being assembled for corals, bryozoans, mollusks, benthic foraminifera, and ostracodes by participants in two major collecting projects: (1) the Panama Paleontology Project (PPP) and (2) the Dominican Republic (DR) project. Primary data and images in NMITA are provided on "species pages", which illustrate representative specimens of each species in the database and summarize information on authorship, synonyms, diagnostic morphologic characters, type specimens, and spatial and temporal distribution. The format of species pages is generally similar to that of traditional taxonomic monographs; however, morphologic information is given in character matrix format and character data are linked to illustrated glossaries of morphologic terms. Characteristics of species within each genus are summarized on "genus pages" that are linked to taxonomic lists providing higher taxonomic ranks. Species and genus pages are created as static reports using a relational database patterned after the Association of Systematics Collections Information Model. Dynamic image-based searches of the database are available using criteria such as: (1) morphologic characters, (2) geographic location, and (3) stratigraphic position and geologic age. In these searches, users may select relevant criteria, submit it to the NMITA database server, and receive a list of links to all taxa satisfying the specified criteria.
Published Article/Book Citation
Abstracts with Programs - Geological Society of America, 30:7 (1998) pp.265