RESOURCE: Mexican Biodiversity Trove

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Science  25 Oct 2002:
Vol. 298, Issue 5594, pp. 709
DOI: 10.1126/science.298.5594.709a

The Internet has breathed new life into museum collections by allowing specimen data to be shared online. One portal for such data is the Mexican National Commission on Biodiversity's (Conabio's) site. Its World Information Network on Biodiversity tool trawls plant and animal databases of more than 6 million specimens (two-thirds with location data) from museums in North and Central America and Spain. If you're seeking possible haunts of the Mexican long-nosed bat (Leptonycteris nivalis), for example, you can map where the bat has been found along with the cacti (Neobuxbaumia) that it pollinates.

Conabio's main site is also packed with other information, although it's mostly in Spanish. You can look up Mexican taxonomists, download software for cataloging specimens, or peruse a guide to Mexico's endangered birds and mammals. And a fires page keeps tab on wildfires in the southern United States, Mexico, and Guatemala with daily satellite images and interactive maps.

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