Mandala is a database system originally created under a grant from the National Science Foundation's PEET(Partnerships for Enhancing Expertise in Taxonomy) program to study the fly family Therevidae. It was designed to track specimen-based biodiversity data, loans, and detail complex nomenclatural histories with their associated literature. The features of this database system, whose engine is the Mac & Windows compatible FileMaker® Pro, were expanded substantially for the Fiji Arthropod Survey to deal with tracking subsamples sorted from Malaise traps and sent to specialists as loans.
In the latest version, Mandala 8v01, the innovations needed by the newest PEET project on the fly family Tabanidae has spurred changes in the database structure, adding the ability to track the of progress of molecular studies related to specimens (extractions, PCR products, sequences), and to create a customizable morphology table (see the new database model).
To find out more about the features of Mandala, read the latest reference on Mandala, see the overview presentation (download 3.4 MB zipped file of PowerPoint® Show) as well as links to About Mandala and Metadata.
Search the TherevidWebMandala: Browse or search for information about
Search FijiWebMandala, the database of the Fiji Bioinventory of Arthropods project. The emphasis here is also on specimens, however not on the nomenclatural history of a single group, but on taxa reported from and new taxa described from the restricted geographic area of Fiji. Whereas most of the data above on therevid specimens were retrospectively captured from existing pinned and already uniquely labeled specimens, the specimens from the Fiji Bioinventory of Arthropods are an example of using Mandala to proactively generate labels for specimens that will be sent unmounted to specialists to curate and identify.
The approaches to data entry are quite different even if the end result are pinned and labeled specimens to be deposited in a collection. Both projects are now mapping specimens and taxa in DiscoverLife.org.