Dear DeepSea List,
One of the more interesting (OK so I'm biased) deep-sea fauna are the
I would like to introduce you to the new version of CephBase:
CephBase is a relational database powered web site about Cephalopods, the
class of mollusks that contains octopuses, squids, cuttlefish and
nautiluses. These animals are some of the most active, intelligent,
productive and amazing invertebrates in the world's oceans. They are
important prey for marine mammals such as whales, endangered birds like
Albatross and many species of commercially important fish. Cephalopods
consume primarily fish, crustaceans and other mollusks. Fisheries have been
increasingly targeting them world-wide. Cephalopods are used to model
non-vertebrate learning and information processing and are also a critical
model organism in many biomedical studies of nerves, retinas, basic
physiology and anti-cancer research.
CephBase is designed to be used as a tool for researchers or anyone
interested in this amazing class of invertebrates. CephBase contains the
following major sub pages: Species Search, Image Database, Video Database,
Reference Database, Researcher Directory, Predators Database, Prey Database.
A brief summary of each of these sub pages is below:
Species Database - Following Sweeney and Roper 1998, CephBase lists all
known species of cephalopods. We will be updating the taxonomy as soon as
Mike Sweeney makes his latest revision available. The site is fully
searchable and species can be located by scientific name, common name or
synonym. After locating a species of interest, distribution, predators,
prey, images, references and many other types of information about that
species are available at the click of a mouse.
Image Database - Cephalopods display specific body patterns through their
unique abilities to change coloration, skin texture and body shape; this
species-specific taxonomic and ecologically important information is lost
upon preservation. We are scanning our extensive collection of cephalopod
images and currently have 300 images online. We will place thousands of the
highest quality images from the National Resource Center for Cephalopods
(NRCC) online. Although the site has not been announced until now, we are
already receiving images from collaborators.
Images can be searched by species, keyword, photographer, location or a
combination of any of the above. All images have a description written by a
leading cephalopod expert as well as where the image was taken and other
Video Database - This sub page is scheduled for year two of our grant but we
expect to start developing it ahead of schedule. The video database will be
very similar to the image database. Our Smithsonian collaborators have a
large amount of rare video footage of deep-sea cephalopods so this sub page
will be quite a resource.
Reference Database - The reference database contains over 3,000 references
about cephalopods. We will continue to add to it as we receive reprints or
copies of new papers. The database can be searched by species, keyword,
author or a combination of all three.
Researcher Directory - This sub page also facilitates communication and
collaboration with the world's leading cephalopod authorities. CephBase has
greatly expanded the International Directory of Cephalopod Workers. This
list used to contain email address and names only. Now, mailing address,
phone numbers and areas of interest are listed. The directory can be
searched by name, country or keyword. This tool has been very popular with
potential graduate students who are interested in knowing who is studying in
their area of interest.
Predators and Prey Database - These two sub pages list hundreds of predators
and prey of cephalopods. Cephalopods grow very rapidly, exponentially when
young and they typically have short lifespans. Thus they move rapidly
through the trophic levels. All cephalopods are predators but they are
never top predators. In turn, cephalopods are consumed by ecologically and
economically important species of birds, fish, mollusks and marine mammals.
CephBase also contains a collaborators sub page - we are very grateful to
those who have donated their time or images to this project. There is also
an "About CephBase" sub page and a links page.
I'm interested in helping other researchers apply the CephBase website model
to other marine animal groups; please let me know if you are interested.
The CephBase team welcomes your comments and questions about the site, feel
free to email us at cephbase at hotmail.com
CephBase is part of the Census of Marine Life, an international program to
explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life.
Dr. James B. Wood
CephBase Project Manager
National Resource Center for Cephalopods
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