AMPHIBIAWEB

History

AmphibiaWeb’s origin is rooted in the late 1990's by the alarming global declines of amphibians, the study of which has been hindered by the lack of multidisciplinary studies and a lack of coordination in monitoring, in field studies, and in lab studies. It was originally organized as product of a UC Berkeley amphibian declines seminar led by David Wake in 1998, attended by Vance Vredenburg and Joyce Gross. Vredenburg was then a graduate student studying chytridiomycosis-associated die offs of high elevation Sierra Nevada frog species (Rana muscosa and R. sierrae) and Gross was a programmer for the Digital Library Project. The seminar participants saw the need for a central resource for all species of amphibians that could be trusted for biology, life history, and taxonomic information. Simultaneously in the early 2000s, museum informatics were increasingly online and becoming more robust (e.g., HerpNET, VertNet), allowing AmphibiaWeb to incorporate data-driven species-level information including maps as well as other web services. AmphibiaWeb thus began producing comprehensive snapshots of species information.

Officially launched as a website in 2000, AmphibiaWeb has been run as a collaborative project within UC Berkeley’s Museum of Vertebrate Zoology where the three principals (Director David Wake, Associate Director Michelle Koo, Coordinator Ann Chang) have appointments. Other leads include programmer Gross of the Berkeley Natural History Museums and Associate Director Vredenburg, who is now a professor at San Francisco State University. We hope AmphibiaWeb will encourage a shared vision to collaboratively face the challenge of global amphibian declines and the conservation of remaining amphibians and their habitats.

We have the ambitious goal of establishing a "home page" for every species of amphibian in the world. To accomplish this, we employ biodiversity informatics tools and especially encourage volunteers and specialists to help us create species accounts. The technology used for viewing species information and photos continues to be supported and developed by the same programmer, Joyce Gross, now part of the Berkeley Natural History Museum Informatics team.We incorporate original text from contributing partners for species where possible. If you have special interest in a particular species, please contact us.

AmphibiaWeb offers easy access to taxonomic information for every recognized species of amphibian in the world, including synonymies to alternative scientific names. We offer a consensus version of the evolutionary relationships or phylogeny among the major amphibian families. (Read more about how we think about AmphibiaWeb's taxonomy here.) Species accounts are being added regularly by specialists and volunteers which include species descriptions, life history information, conservation status, literature references, photos and range maps for many species. Some species have complete accounts; others as yet have only photographs or distributions. All species can be queried for taxonomic, distributional and exact specimen data from VertNet. AmphibiaWeb offers data-rich mapping by combining museum specimen data with range maps (from IUCN and by the MVZ Informatics Lab) and overlaying these onto political, satellite, hybrid, or terrain base maps.

Overseen by a coalition of researchers at University of California Berkeley, San Francisco State University, University of Florida Gainesville, University of Texas Austin, and the California Academy of Sciences, among other partners, AmphibiaWeb is an ongoing collaboration between citizen scientists, students, and researchers around the world.

As part of the University of California, we are a U.S. non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, and all gifts are tax-deductible to the full extent of US law. We depend upon your support to keep the site current and to continue to offer new features and data.

With appreciation, the AmphibiaWeb Team