A Virtual Museum on the State's Fish Biodiversity

Data Storage and Programming


The relational project database was originally implemented in Microsoft Access, utilizing the Specify 5 data schema as a model for the core structure, but adding many custom tables and fields. Later we created import scripts to port the data to MySQL. The MySQL database is encoded using the UTF-8 character set. Structurally, the data are currently stored using the Specify 6.1.10 schema, which is documented here. However, while many of our fields, especially those related to retention of verbatim donor data, utilize custom fields in the Specify 6.1.10 schema, most core data conform to Darwin Core and other standards used by the Specify Project.

The MySQL database, as well as the project's entire digital library and database website, is hosted on high speed secure super-computer infrastructure at the University of Texas at Austin's Texas Advanced Computing Center (TACC).

The data are provided online by a custom web application powered by the Python programming language and Django. The web front-end queries the Specify MySQL database and allows users to filter and retrieve Fishes of Texas data in multiple formats. The site also facilitates the submission of user-contributed content in the form of comments and photo submissions, which can be moderated in the site's administration area.

The Google Maps API was used to render species distribution maps. Custom tiles were generated using GIS data provided by the Texas Water Development Board. Finally, image galleries were created with JavaScript and the Python Imaging Library, and graphs were generated using Flot, an open source graphing/plotting library for jQuery.


Maintained and made available to users via the Django web framework used for the Fishes of Texas project and supported by TACC.

Species Accounts & Keys

Currently included on our taxon pages and Keys tab (www.fishesoftexas.org), but we are experimenting and working towards developing new species accounts in Scratchpads and keys in Lucid.

Species Distirbution Models

Created and stored on TACC's super-computer infrastructure.