Shorefishes of the Eastern Pacific online information system

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We could not have completed this online information system, or the preceding, dual language CD ROM versions of 2002 and 2006, or the English and Spanish editions of the book [Fishes of the Tropical Eastern Pacific (1994) and Peces del Pacífico Oriental Tropicál (1998)] that preceded those, without the assistance of numerous individuals. We are particularly indebted to Ira Rubinoff, Director of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI), for his continuous support and encouragement since 1990, when fieldwork began for this project. Cristian Sampér and Eldredge Bermingham, each as STRI deputy director at different times, also provided enthusiastic support for this project.

PHP software programming that defines the structure and dynamic functioning of both websites was developed primarily by Eugenio Valdés of STRI’s Office of Information Technology, with additional programming of research-engine functionality by Carlos Caballero of the same office.

Much of this project has been financed from STRI general research funds, for fieldwork in Panama, Costa Rica, Gorgona (Colombia), El Salvador, Mexico, Clipperton, Cocos Is, Malpelo, the Galapagos and the Revillagigedos. Grants from the Smithsonian Institution's Atherton Siedell Endowment Fund sponsored the production of the english and spanish printed editions. The production of the 1998 spanish edition of our book was enabled by a subvention from CONABIO in Mexico. The development of software for the CD-ROM versions of the electronic information system was largely made possible by a grant from the Smithsonian Womens Committee, while the Smithsonian's Latino Initiatives Fund provided support for spanish translations for that. Fieldwork in El Salvador in March 2001 was sponsored by a grant from the Smithsonian's Johnson Fund. A grant from the National Geographic Society (#5831-96) sponsored a research cruise by the RV Urraca to Clipperton in 1998.

Support from the Smithsonian's Office of the Under Secretary for Science (FY2005) funded development of software for the first version (2008), of this online information system, which acted as a model for the redevelopment of this new system.

The governments of Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Polynesia, Mexico, and Panama granted us permission to conduct field studies. The enthusiastic assistance of two El Salvadoran entities (the Fisheries Authority, CENDEPESCA, and the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources) during the 2001 expedition to that country was particularly helpful. The Centro de Investigaciones Oceanográficas e Hidrográficas de la Armada Nacional de Colombia allowed D R Robertson to join a cruise of the Colombian research vessel A.R.C. Malpelo to Isla Malpelo, and the Division de Parques Nacionales de INDERENA for permission to conduct research there in 1992. Elena Lombardo and Celideth de Leon, of STRI's office of external affairs facilitated various phases of fieldwork outside Panama. Orelis Arosemena and Mercedes Arosemena of STRI assisted with permits within Panama.

The crews of two of STRI's research vessels, the R/V Benjamin and the R/V Urraca, provided support during research cruises to much of the coast of Panama, as well as to El Salvador, Costa Rica, Isla del Coco and Ile Clipperton. Gustavo Justines, of the Panama Fisheries Association (ANDELIAP) provided continuing assistance enabling us to sample the by catch of shrimp and anchovy fishing vessels operating in various partes of Panama over the years. Enrique Barraza provided similar assistance during an expedition of the R/V Urraca to El Salvador in March/April 2001, and a follow-up trip working aboard shrimp trawlers there in December 2001. Peter Glynn (University of Miami) enabled D.R. Robertson to join his cruise (number 90-053) on the R.V. Gyre, sponsored by the US National Science Foundation, to Isla del Coco and the Galapagos in 1992. Les Knapp of the Smithsonian Oceanographic Sorting Center and Jeff Williams of the SI National Museum of Natural History provided collection supplies. Daniel Evans, Director of the Charles Darwin Research Station at the Galapagos, and his assistant Fionnuala Walsh provided logistical assistance in 1990. In El Salvador, Mario Gonzalez Recinos of CENDEPESCA and Enrique Barraza of the Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources greatly facilitated our work, as did Jorge Lopez of MAG-SIC-OSPESCA and Osmin Pocasangre, of the University of El Salvador. Three El Salvador shrimp companies (ISMARSA, PRESTOMAR and VERALMAR) provided logistical support through access to their shrimp vessels in 2001; Waldemar Arnecke of ISMARSA and Manuel Quintanilla of VERALMAR were particularly helpful; the spanish research vessel B/O Miguel Oliver on a research cruise between Panama and Guatemala in late 2010 sponsored by OSPESCA , with thanks to Mario Gonzalez Recinos.

Eldredge Bermingham, Harris Lessios, Ben Victor, and Jerry Wellington assisted us in collecting fishes in the Galapagos in 1990. Further help with collecting came from J.D. Lopez at Malpelo; Ursula Schober, John Earle, Steve Swearer and Mike Lang at Isla del Coco; John Earle, Kirstie Kaiser, Steve Swearer, Ken Clifton, Mike Lang, Jerry Wellington and Jennifer Caselle at Clipperton; John Earle, Jim Van Tassell, Philippe Bearez, Bill Bussing, John McCosker, Kirstie Kaiser, Clay Byrce and Richard Cooke at various sites along the Panamanian coast; by Richard Cooke, Edgardo Ochoa, Jim Van Tassell, Bill Bussing, Tom Munroe and Carole Baldwin in El Salvador; and Jim Van Tassell, John Earle and Edgardo Ochoa at the Murcielagos Islands area of Costa Rica. Special thanks are due to Richard Cooke (STRI) who accompanied us on trips to the Panama City fish market (one of the best fish markets in central America for fish biologists), guided us with the subtleties of identifying catfishes and sciaenids, and made it possible for us to obtain valuable collections of Panamanian fishes. Gordon Hubbell and Greg Fairclough loaned shark jaws. We were also assisted on Panamanian fish market visits by Conrado Tapia (STRI). We received valuable field assistance in Panama from STRI staff members Anibal Velarde, Alcibiades Cedeno, Pancho Sanchez, Ismael Gonzalez, and Ernesto Peña. Others at the Naos Marine Laboratory who provided administrative assistance throughout this project include Marissa Batista and Osmila Sanchez-Galan. Tita and Ana Tapia provided accomodation during collecting trips to Aguadulce, Panama. Rex and Joan Allen (G. Allen's parents) provided accomodation and hospitality during a stay at Golfito, Costa Rica. Tim Means and Gary Cotter of Baja Expeditions (San Diego, California) were instrumental in organizing our month-long visit to the Gulf of California in 1990. We also thank John Fox and Almei Moehl of Cabo Aquadeportes for providing logistic assistance at Cabo San Lucas. Gerry Allen wishes to thank the Springer and Duke families for providing accomodation while studying eastern Pacific fishes at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. Vernon Scholey allowed us to use facilities at the Achotines Laboratory of the Interamerican Tropical Tuna Commission on the Azuero Peninsula of Panama.

We are especially indebted to the following people who helped to identify our specimens and photos or served as critical reviewers of the manuscripts of the english and spanish print editions and/or sections of the different editions of the electronic information system: Ricardo Betancur of Auburn University (Ariidae); Eugene Bohlke (deceased) of the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia (Muraenidae); Bill Bussing, Universidad de Costa Rica (a wide range of fishes); N. Labbish Chao of Bio-Amazonia Conservation, Talahassee, Florida (Sciaenidae); Bruce Collette of the National Marine Fisheries Service, Washington, D.C. (Ammodytidae, Batrachoididae, Belonidae, Exocoetidae, and Hemiramphidae); Richard Cooke, Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panamá (Ariidae); William Eschmeyer of the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco, California (Scorpaenidae); Martin Gomon of the Museum of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia (Labridae); Phil Hastings of Scripps Institution of Oceanography, San Diego, California (Tripterygiidae, Dactyloscopidae, Labrisomidae, Chaenopsidae, Blenniidae, Gobiesocidae); Phil Heemstra of the J.L.B. Smith Institute of Ichthyology, Grahamstown, South Africa (Triakidae; Serranidae); Doug Hoese of the Australian Museum, Sydney (Gobiidae); Dave Johnson of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington,D.C. (Anomalopidae); John McCosker of the California Academy of Sciences, San Francisco (Muraenidae, Ophichthidae, and other eels); John McEachran of Texas A & M University (batoid fishes); Rolly Mckay of the Queensland Museum, Brisbane (Haemulidae); Peter Moller, University of Copenhagen (Bythitidae); Tom Munroe of the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service, Washington DC (Achiridae, Bothidae, Cynoglossidae); Joergen Nielsen, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark (Ophidiidae and Bythitidae); Nik Parin of the Shirshov Institute of Oceanography, Russia (Exocoetidae); Stuart Poss of the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Ocean Springs, Mississippi (Scorpaenidae); Jack Randall of the Bishop Museum, Honolulu, Hawaii (Acanthuridae, Mullidae and Scaridae); Richard Rosenblatt, Scripps Institution, San Diego, California provided valuable assistance in identifying photographs of many eastern Pacific fishes; Werner Schwarzhans, Hamburg, Germany (Bythitidae); Dave Smith of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (Chlopsidae and Congridae); Bill Smith-Vaniz, formerly of the Academy of Natural Sciences, Philadelphia (Carangidae and Opistognathidae); Victor Springer of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (Triakidae, Labrisomidae and Blenniidae); Wayne Starnes of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (Priacanthidae); Jim Van Tassell, Hofstra University, New York (Eleotridae, Gobiidae); Peter Whitehead (deceased) of the Centro de Investigaciones Biologicas, La Paz, Mexico (Clupeidae). Bill Bussing provided access to his unpublished list of the marine fishes of Isla del Coco, Costa Rica, which was subsequently published in Garrison 2000, Los Peces de la Isla del Coco. Shark jaws and images of shark jaws were provided by Gordon Hubbell and Greg Fairclough.

Many online databases of collection records from museums and universities were obtained through major online aggregators (FISHNET2, OBIS, GBIF, iDigBio, and FISHBASE), as well as individual databases from the British Museum of Natural History, World Register of Marine Species (, the Museo de Historia Natural Marina de Colombia, El Sistema Nacional de Información sobre Biodiversidad de México - CONABIO, the Sistema de Información sobre Biodiversidad de Colombia, the Universidad de Costa Rica, and the Florida Museum of Natural History. Assistance with provision of museum databases of collection site records was provided by: American Museum of Natural History (Barbara Brown and Jim Van Tassell); the US National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington DC (Kris Murphy); Scripps Institution of Oceanography (Phil Hastings); University of Arizona (Peter Reinthal); aggregate collection records for fishes within the Gulf of California (Lloyd Findley, Guaymas); California Academy of Sciences (John McCosker, Tomio Iwamoto and Dave Catania); Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia (Mark Sabaj and Jon Lundburg); La Universidad del Valle, Cali Colombia (Efrian Rubio and Fernando Zapata); The Gulf Coast Research Laboratory, Mississippi (online catalog); the Los Angeles County Museum (Rick Feeney); INVEMAR, Colombia (Andrea Polanco); Fernando Zapata (Gorgona Island, Colombia); Fernando Rivera (Isla de la Plata and the coast of Ecuador); the University of Costa Rica (Arturo Angulo); Graham Edgar (Galapagos Islands, Ecuador); and Katie Cramer (Revillagigedo Islands, Mexico).

Review and cleaning of location data: Source databases providing data to online aggregators were identified and data from databases known to provide unreliable or unverifiable data were excluded completely. Finally, all site records from all sources were mapped and inspected by DRR for consistency with known ranges wherever possible and suspect data were excluded. This cleaning process removed about 1/3 of all location records obtained by those methods before data were included in species maps on the website and used for construction of species lists and species richness calculations in the website’s Research Engine.

Myrna Lopez (Universidad de Costa Rica) translated the entire english text of our 1994 book ""Fishes of the tropical eastern Pacific"", enabling us to produce Peces costeros del Pacífico Oriental Tropical in 1998. Bill Bussing provided invaluable collaboration and patience during the translation for the spanish edition, including revision of the translated text. He, in conjunction with Richard Cooke and Gustavo Justines (ANDELIAAP).assisted in the provision of spanish language common names for many species. Additional spanish translations needed for this electronic edition, which includes about twice as many taxa as the printed books, were done by Rodrigo Rojas and Juan L Maté. Luis D'Croz reviewed parts of the translated material.

Images used in the website and associated mobile apps are drawn from 1000+ sources, including underwater photographers, image arising through research activities, particularly those arising from collections by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History and deep-living species photographed during NOAA expeditions. Some images were also sourced from iNaturalist. The authors/owners of all images used are identified individually and credited on the large version of each image. The website’s Contributors Module includes three sections: (i) Principal Contributors: this section includes short bios of the authors and other ichthyologists who have made significant contributions to the information in the website. (ii) Major Image Contributors includes short bios of UW photographers who have contributed 100+ images to the website, with contact information and links to all the images provided by each person. (iii) All Image Contributors includes an alphabetical listing of the names of all image contributors, together with contact information and a link to all the images of each contributor.

Ernesto Peña managed the entire database. Assistance with data entry was provided by Rodnyel Arosemena, Alana Domingo, Evelyn Castillo, Susana Cussatti, Zoraida Jiménez, Ariel Magallon, Yarima Morato, Trinidad Pardo, Tania Romero, Ximena Shaw, Ramiro Solís, Derek Urrutia, Olga Vasquez and Ileana Hernández.