AME 27:203-207 (2002)  -  doi:10.3354/ame027203

Development of web-based guides to planktonic protists

Michaela C. Strüder-Kypke*, David J. S. Montagnes**

Port Erin Marine Laboratory, University of Liverpool, Port Erin, Isle of Man IM9 6JA, British Isles
*Present address: Department of Zoology, University of Guelph, Guelph, N1G 2W1 Ontario, Canada **Corresponding author. E-mail:

ABSTRACT: Computer-based media constitute an ideal tool for disseminating data concerning protist biodiversity. Interactive guides can combine micrographs, illustrations, text and links to molecular data. A standardized web-based guide could collate information collected by researchers and create a mechanism for ecologists to identify taxa. Web-based guides have advantages: they are easily modified and expanded; they are easy to distribute; they can include a search engine to replace a dichotomous key; they can be downloaded to run on stand-alone computers; and they can be structured to provide printed information. We have developed a model for a guide that incorporates these methods of disseminating information. Using this model, we indicate how the web can provide information and act as a tool to identify taxa. We then use a guide to the planktonic ciliates, based on this model, as an example ( Finally we present data from a survey that reviewed our model website; it indicated that the site was well received. Ultimately, we offer this guide as a template to be applied to other taxa.

KEY WORDS: Biodiversity · Ciliate · Internet · Key · Plankton · Taxonomy

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