Web

Collaboration with Encyclopedia of Life

www.moroccoherps.com has established a partnership with Encyclopedia of Life whereby www.moroccoherps.com becomes eol.org content partner. Under this agreement, part of the contents of www.moroccoherps.com will be licensed under a Creative Commons license. We believe this collaboration will help to increase significantly the visibility of our project (Encyclopedia of Life receives over one million visits per month) which will contribute to achieving our goals, promote awareness and protection of the herpetofauna of NW Africa.

From Wikipedia:

The Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is a free, online collaborative encyclopedia intended to document all of the 1.9 million living species known to science. It is compiled from existing databases and from contributions by experts and non-experts throughout the world. It aims to build one “infinitely expandable” page for each species, including video, sound, images, graphics, as well as text. In addition, the Encyclopedia incorporates content from the Biodiversity Heritage Library, which digitizes millions of pages of printed literature from the world’s major natural history libraries. The project was initially backed by a US$50 million funding commitment, led by the MacArthur Foundation and the Sloan Foundation, who provided US$20 million and US$5 million, respectively. The additional US$25 million came from five cornerstone institutions – the Field Museum, Harvard University, the Marine Biological Laboratory,the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the Smithsonian Institution. Today, participating institutions and individual donors continue to support EOL through financial contributions.

EOL went live on 26 February 2008 with 30,000 entries. The site immediately proved to be extremely popular, and temporarily had to revert to demonstration pages for two days when it was overrun by traffic from over 11 million views it received.

The site relaunched on 5 September, 2011 with a redesigned interface and tools. The new version –referred to as EOLv2– was developed in response to requests from the general public, citizen scientists, educators and professional biologists for a site that was more engaging, accessible and personal. EOLv2 is redesigned to enhance usability and encourage contributions and interactions among users. The product is also internationalized with interfaces provided for English, German, Spanish, French, Galician, Serbian, Macedonian and Arabic language speakers.

The initiative’s Executive Committee includes senior officers from the Atlas of Living Australia, the Biodiversity Heritage Library consortium, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, CONABIO, Field Museum, Harvard University, the Bibliotheca Alexandrina (Library of Alexandria), MacArthur Foundation, Marine Biological Laboratory, Missouri Botanical Garden, Sloan Foundation, and the Smithsonian Institution.


Updated the Pelobates varaldii species page

It was recently discovered a population of Moroccan Spadefoot Toad (Pelobates varaldii) that extends about 50 km to the north the known range of this threatened anuran.

Photo: © Philip de Pous.

The correct identification was confirmed by analysis of mt-DNA and the finding was published in the latest issue of Herpetological Review. We are grateful to Iñigo Martínez-Solano for sharing with us the article.

We have updated the Pelobates varaldii page to reflect these new data and we have also added new pictures to the photo gallery of this endangered Moroccan species, kindly provided by Philip de Pous and Wouter Beukema for www.moroccoherps.com.

Reference: Lapeña, M.; Barbadillo, L.J. & Martínez-Solano, I. 2011. Geographic Distribution. Pelobates varaldii.
Herpetol. Rev.
, 42(1): 108.


Connecting…

Today, all WEBs should be present in the social networks. In this line, www.moroccoherps.com keeps a Facebook page, a account in Twitter and a Flickr group. This multiplicity of contents creates the need to integrate all these services so web activity does not disperse.

After looking around and trying different options, we have decided to install the popular MailChimp Social plugin that permits an easy integration between WordPress based blogs and the Facebook and Twitter social networks.

Thus, from now on, comments can be left not only filling the fields in the comments box, or registering as a user in blog.moroccoherps.com, but also using our personal accounts in Facebook or Twitter.

What makes this plugin especially interesting is that it permits to incorporate the comments done in the social networks to the blog, avoiding that the conversations get dispersed and centralizing the discussion in the blog.

This way, in the comments of each entry, apart from the normal anonymous comments, the registered user accounts and those done from Facebook or Twittter, we will also see the Tweets done in relation with the entry, and the comments done in Facebook about the contents of the blog, with the origin of each comment conveniently identified by icons.

We hope this new system will offer an improved experience, more interactive and social to the users of our WEB. If any user finds any problem using this new system, we would appreciate if he or she let us know.


New Website: www.tanzaniaherps.org


Web Improvements: Implementing Google Maps and IUCN’s range maps

In a continuing effort to improve this website, Amphibians & Reptiles of Morocco and Western Sahara has now Google Map Integration and offers range maps of the species based on data from the IUCN Red List.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species contains assessments for almost 56,000 species, of which about 28,000 have spatial data freely available to the public. The data are provided as shapefiles, the ESRI native format and contain the known range of each species.

The Google Maps Javascript API v.3 lets you embed Google Maps in your own web pages. The API provides a number of utilities for manipulating maps and adding content to the map through a variety of services, allowing you to create maps applications on your website. It’s a free service available for any web site that is free to consumers.

Currently only some species show this information (those included in the IUCN Red List), but we plan to progressively extend it to the rest. You can find it on the ‘Range Map’ tab of the species page.