History of CephBase

The concept of CephBase germinated at Dalhousie University with Professor Ron O’Dor and his (then) graduate student James Wood. Ron realized the need for such a database for our community and was inspired by Fishbase.org, which was already well organized in the early 1990s. Ron obtained funding from the Sloan Foundation to initiate CephBase, which was conceived as a demonstration project to initiate the process of consolidating life history, distribution, catch and taxonomic data on all living species of cephalopods (octopus, squid, cuttlefish and nautilus) to help define the goals of the Census of Marine Life. A fuller description of Cephbase founding history can be found at http://www.thecephalopodpage.org/cephbase.php

It was decided that CephBase should best be located within the National Resource Center for Cephalopods at the Marine Biomedical Institute of the University of Texas Medical Branch. James Wood moved to Galveston and was the lead person to develop CephBase. He was ably and strongly assisted by a number of individuals including Catriona Day, John Forsythe, Jim Koppe and Philip Lee (the latter 3 were full-time employees of the Marine Biomedical Institute).

CephBase was officially installed on the internet and opened to the scientific community in 1998. Aside from the initial Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant, partial funding was later provided by (i) a National Science Foundation grant, (ii) a National Oceanographic Partnership Program grant (iii) a National Institutes of Health grant, and (iv) funding from the Marine Biomedical Institute. When funding sources diminished, CephBase was taken offline in 2003. Thus, the information content of CephBase is more than a decade out of date as CephBase is re-established in 2014 within the Encyclopedia of Life.

CephBase background information can also be found in the following publications.

  • Wood J.B., Byrne R.B. Monks N. (2003) Coleoid cephalopods through time and cyberspace: using CephBase to examine behavior and selection. Berliner Geowissenschaftliche Abhandlungen. 3: 261-266.
  • Wood J.B., Day C.L., Lee P.G., and O'Dor R.K. 2000. CephBase: testing ideas for cephalopod and other species-level databases. Oceanography 13(3):14-2
  • Wood J.B., O'Dor R.K. and U. Piatkowski. 2001 Introduction to CephBase www.cephbase.utmb.edu ACP-EU Fisheries Research Report No. 8, ACP-EU Fisheries Research Initiative, ISSN 1025-3971, 44-49.
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith