THE NATURAL SCIENCE DATABASE AND THE WORLD WIDE WEB


p174.jpg (46092 bytes)

RobertJ. Baker - Texas Tech University,

Nick C Parker -U.S. Geological Survey-Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Researeb Unit, and

Don McCarty, John Hereon and Ronnie R. George - Texas Parks and Wildlife Department

This photo was taken by H. C Oberholser in 1901 It is the lower entrance to the Grand Canyon of the Rio Grande. The area was largely devoid of vegetation at that time. Today, the same area has been thickly invaded by salt cedar, and introduced species. The change typifiess other alterations of streamside wildlife habitat.

The Natural Science Research Laboratory (NSRL) of the Museum of Texas Tech University and the Texas Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit are constructing the Natural Science Database (NSD) as a reference tool for wildlife biologists and academicians, but also as a reservoir of biological data to address public health issues. Database management software linked to Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will provide interactive queries and map production through a World Wide Web (WWW) interface. Wildlife data will include currently archived, but inaccessible, historical records for distribution of species and quality and quantity of habitat from a variety of sources. The NSRL currently has 50,000 cryopreserved tissue samples and a total holding of over 100,000 cataloged natural history specimens which will be included in NSD. Additional data will be included from, or linked to, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, other museums in Texas, and the Texas Department of Health (TDH) which collect specimens with the potential of possessing rabies or other human pathogens. The Natural Science Database will provide dynamic analysis and evaluation of factors influencing resource management and public health in a user friendly environment to anyone with Internet access.

Products currently available through the WWW include The Mammals of Texas by WB. Davis and DJ. Schmidly, the 1897 Manual of Fish Culture with many photographs and line drawings, and information on current projects. The field notes, photographs, and records from the 1895 to 1905 Biological Survey of Texas by Vernon Bailey are currently being prepared by D. J. Schmidly for publication on the WWW.