Friday, July 4, 2008

By the Numbers... How MUCH is published on echinoderms???

So, while I was preparing text, budget numbers and accomplishments over the weekend in anticipation for my grant, I was inspired to do some "by-the-numbers" thinking about echinoderms and how much we know about them. Via publications.

I went to the Zoological Record database* (see disclaimer at bottom for search parameters) and looked at the classification of different "kinds" of research by echinoderm taxon.

I make no interpretations other than what seems apparent.

Here's what you get:

General Trends:

*Fossil publications recover the greatest number of hits for the Echinodermata, followed by development (thanks Strongylocentrotus!) and then systematics.

*Sea Urchin papers account for about 42% of the TOTAL number of echinoderm publications!!
But of, those the majority of sea urchin publications are in development (so...mostly Strongylocentrotus).. None of the other remaining echinoderm groups really reaches this overall percentage of the total.

Asteroids make up about 18% of the total number of publications, breaking down with less. I'll be honest though, its entirely possible that crinoids (14%) are under represented in the ZR database. Crinoids occupy a prominent role in Geology as index fossils which may not be reflected in a zoological context.
Echinodermata (total=39,989 publications)
Name of Discipline # of hits
Fossils 7839 (note that x-ref with Paleontology only got 527 hits)
Development 7703
Systematics 6814
Ecology 6392
Physiology 3346
Morphology 3055
Genetics 2091
Taxonomy 1192

Class by Class Breakdown... (sorry-Living groups only...didn't get to do Paleozoic groups for now...)
Echinoidea (total=16,888 publications)
Fossils 3964
Development 4152
Systematics 2885
Ecology 2511

Physiology 1181
Morphology 1073
Genetics 1336
Taxonomy 355
Asteroidea (total=7,220 publications)
Fossils 700
Development 1114
Systematics 1373

Ecology 1481
Physiology 664
Morphology 676
Genetics 374
Taxonomy 218
Crinoidea (total=5,494 publications)
Fossils 3481
Development 337
Systematics 2247
Ecology 627
Physiology 127
Morphology 663
Genetics 88
Taxonomy 326
Holothuroidea (total=4,100 publications)
Fossils 326
Development 426
Systematics 1139
Ecology 603
Physiology 362
Morphology 446
Genetics 118
Taxonomy 232
Ophiuroidea (total=3,317 publications)
Fossils 550
Development 388
Systematics 1070
Ecology 644

Physiology 206
Morphology 376
Genetics 76
Taxonomy 169

*Their database extends back to 1864..but I think our access only extends to 1945. In any case, it doesn't make a significant difference-still a LOT of publications. Bear in mind..what you have is probably imperfect, biased and NOT at all as well-thought out as it probably ought to be, so any mistakes or logical errors are mine. (but if I worked all that stuff out-I would probably be submitting this for publication somewhere instead of doing this!)

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