Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

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Carboniferous

 

Mollusc and Other Invertebrate Species Data Fields

 

Currently, the mollusc and other invertebrate species entity contains only systematic information (Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Sp ecies, Unique) for each mollusc and other invertebrate species. At the present time the ETE Consortium does not have adequate expertise in the area of mollusc functional morphology and paleobiology. Appropriate fields will be developed and added at a later date.

Required fields for a mollusc species consist of:

Genus msp.genus
Species msp.species
Unique field msp.unf
Data Coordinator sau.coordinator
Data Authorizer sau.authorizer

In addition, each species entry must be associated with at least one reference (which requires the fields ref.author_1 and ref.date). See Reference Data Fields.
Higher taxonomic information should be supplied for any genus that is new to the database. Later entries of congeneric species will be automatically supplied with the higher taxonomic information by the software, so it is not necessary to provide it in these cases. Mollusc and Other Invertebrate Species Data Fields

thin green lineClass

The Linnean class to which the species belongs.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The Linnean class to which the species belongs.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

msp.class

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Comment

A comment on the addition of a new species, or an update.

DATA TYPE

Character field not exceeding 255 characters.

DESCRIPTION

Each time a species is added to the database, the Data-Entry Authorization section (see the Overview) must be filled out. The same thing occurs whenever the data for the species are updated. Included in this part of the data fields is a comment field. Include here reservations about certain data, explanations of what some inferences were based on, what references were used for what data, and other miscellaneous useful comments on your work in preparing the data for entry. Be brief!

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

sau.comment

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Data Authorizer

The authorizer of the data.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 25 characters. MANDATORY FIELD.

DESCRIPTION

The name of the member of a research group who authorizes the entry of information into the database. This may or may not be the same as the Data Coordinator. It is intended that the currently empowered Authorizers be a small and restricted set of research group members who work closely with the database. Their job is to certify that the data prepared by the Data Coordinator(s) meet the current standards for scientific accuracy and have been entered logically. They are also responsible for catching major errors of a scientific nature, inconsistencies, and misunderstandings on the part of whoever filled out the datasheet No datasheet can be entered without an Authorizer.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

sau.authorizer

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Data Coordinator

The name of the researcher preparing the data for entry.

DATA TYPE

A character string not exceeding 25 characters. MANDATORY FIELD.

DESCRIPTION

The data for each entity are prepared by or under the supervision of a particular researcher (or group of researchers). This (these) person(s) is designated the Data Coordinator, and is the primary source of the information and is responsible for its accuracy. Data Coordinators may or may not also be Data Authorizers. Data Coordinators possess such rights over the data as the Consortium has decided in its general policy on the subject. Briefly, for entities designated as "private", the Data Coordinator's data are treated as a collection that the Data Coordinator is actively working on. Thus, the Data Coordinator must be consulted/informed when other researchers use the data in some project intended for publication. The Data Coordinator may deny permission for such use. The Data Coordinator may initially or at a later time designate the status of a species or locality as "public". In this case, the data become "public domain" and can be used by anyone with access privileges to the database, for any purpose, without informing or obtaining permission from the Data Coordinator. The Consortium has established a time period (5 years from date of entry or last modification) after which data of a particular entity will convert to "public" status, unless there are compelling reasons to retain private status.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

sau.coordinator

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Family

The Linnean family to which the species belongs.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The Linnean family to which the species belongs. It should, as usual, begin with an upper-case letter.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

msp.family

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Genus

The generic name of the species.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length. MANDATORY FIELD.

DESCRIPTION

The generic name of the species. It should, as usual, begin with an upper-case letter. Exception: Generic names may also be given as "cf." followed by a generic name, or the entries "gen." or "indet.".

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

msp.genus

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Order

The Linnean order to which the species belongs.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The Linnean order to which the species belongs. It should, as usual, begin with an upper-case letter.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

msp.lorder

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Phylum

The Linnean phylum to which the species belongs.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

The Linnean phylum to which the species belongs.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

msp.phylum

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Species

The species epithet of the species.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length. MANDATORY FIELD.

DESCRIPTION

The species name of the species. It is always entirely in lower case. Species may also be recorded as "sp.", "indet.", or preceded by "cf." to indicate different levels of uncertainty in assignment. These three strings are the only ones that the graphical interface recognizes as alternatives to Linnean names. "sp." implies that it is known that this is a new or separate species, but that it currently has no formal taxonomic name; use "indet." for a species that is not identifiable at the species level. "cf." is to indicate any of the many tentative assignments (including "aff.", "near", ? species, etc.). "cf." entries always are recorded as separate species, not as instances of the referred species.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

msp.species

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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Status

The current status (public or private) of a species record.

DATA TYPE

A predefined character string not exceeding 15 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

Every species or locality record in the Database at any moment is assigned a status, which indicates the level of access permitted to that record. Currently, the value "public" indicates that the record is essentially "public domain" and will be made available without restriction in the public domain version of the ETE Database. The value "private" indicates that the record will be accessible only to those researchers who have access to the ongoing working database. Records will ordinarily be entered with "private" status until the members of the Project (q.v.) that has generated them releases them to the public. The Data Coordinator (q.v.) for each record is ultimately responsible for any changes of its status. Additional values for status may eventually be added if it becomes necessary to specify in finer detail the access level of an entity.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

msp.status

ALLOWED VALUES

private
public

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Unique

Makes the species entry unique.

DATA TYPE

A character field not exceeding 30 characters in length.

DESCRIPTION

At times the occurrences of the same species at different localities will still differ in some ecologically meaningful way. For example, the same named species may be of substantially different size in different fossil localities. In order to record the size appropriate to each locality, one must somehow separate the two species occurrences -- as if they were two separate species. At other times, adequate identifications may be unavailable, or systematic work needs to be done, such that the best one can do is to identify to some higher taxon (e. g., Somegenus sp.). In such a case, "Somegenus sp." is what the computer will search on when a species list is entered. But there may be many undescribed species of Somegenus, each different in ecologically meaningful ways, and found in a variety of localities. Yet, they all have the same generic and specific name as far as the computer is concerned. They need to be treated individually.

The unique field is the way to do this. In addition to Genus and Species, this field is also searched when a species name is input as part of a species list. In effect, the ETE Database uses "trinomial" designations for its "species". Thus, to separate occurrences of Somegenus, all one has to do is to specify an entry in the unique field. It might be a letter or a number, or an abbreviation for a locality, or any string of 30 characters or fewer that will serve to identify it uniquely. Remember that other people might be working with Somegenus as well, so naming a species "Somegenus sp. A" (i.e., the unique field = "A") might inadvertently identify it incorrectly as another one already in the database. One fairly safe solution would be to include some kind of locality, regional, or temporal designations within the 30-character string -- increasing the probability that the unique field will really be unique.

Data Coordinators must keep track of their own usages and assignments using this field, and they should become aware of the ways in which the species (or close relatives) that they are working with may have already been entered by other workers. The computer cannot sort out a nomenclatural mess where two different things have been given the same name by mistake. On the other hand, excessive use of the unique field, resulting in a situation where all or most occurrences of a species are distinguished as unique, should also be avoided. This is surely unnecessary, takes up valuable storage space, and can also become confusing to other workers.

INTERNAL TABLE.FIELD NAMES

msp.unf

ALLOWED VALUES

Any

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