Plans for future development of the ID tool

1. More characters
Only seven morphological characters are now available for queries. We hope to expand this to 50-100 morphological characters over the next few years. Our emphasis will be on skeletal characters that can be readily observed on the colony surface or in thin section. We will attempt to make our selection of characters as comprehensive as possible.

2. More refined character state definitions
At present, some of the character states are broadly defined (in part because the tool is defined for recognizing genera, see point 3 below). In an effort to make these definitions more exact, we plan to: (a) add drawings for each state, (b) select more high-quality photos illustrating each state, and (c) annotate the photos.

3. Species-level taxa
Our tool is now designed for querying 47 reef-building scleractinian genera that occurred in the Neogene and Quaternary of the Caribbean region. We plan to revise the tool so that queries can be made at the species level. We will include all reef-building scleractinian species (approx. 175 species) that occurred in the Neogene and Quaternary of the Caribbean region.

4. Queries that allow missing values
At present our tool will not permit missing values. In the future we plan to add this capability so the user can survey all taxa possessing a limited set of character states. This feature will also facilitate identification of poorly preserved specimens.

Last updated on October 24, 1996-afb.

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