Update on the Fishes of Texas Project
The Fishes of Texas project (www.fishesoftexas.org), originating in 2006, remains the most reliable (quality controlled) and data rich site for acquiring occurrence data for Texas fishes, holding over 124,000 records from 42 institutions. Among many discoveries, the project is responsible for detecting at least 3 freshwater species not previously known from the state. We continue making improvements, but substantial updates so far have been onerous for our developers for various reasons. A recent major update reduces coding redundancies, points the website to a new massively restructured and more fully normalized PostgreSQL database (was MySQL), and places the code in a versioning environment. These changes have little immediate effect on user experience, but will greatly accelerate development. PostgreSQL allows for complex spatial queries which will allow users to quickly map occurrence data alongside many more political/environmental layers than currently possible. While our database/web designers have been implementing these changes and fixing bugs etc., we’ve been preparing resources for them to integrate into the website. Some highlights to expect: 1 new updates to the state Species of Greatest Concern list; 2 expert opinion-determined nativity spatial layers for all freshwater fishes displaying in our new mapping system; 3 dynamic statistical summaries; 4 new data types from the literature (>14,900 records), citizen science (>4,300), anglers (>37,000), and agency databases (>1,000,000); 5 new museum records, many derived from our gap sampling (~19,000, 4 museums); 6 more specimen examinations (>400) and photographs (1000); 7 document archive with “smart” text search tools (currently in beta testing using TPWD fisheries reports). So be patient and keep your eyes open for updates.