Educational use of FishBase by public aquariums

Bournonville M.

Date de parution: juillet 2023
Volume: 47
Number: 3
Pagination: 371-376

Marie Bournonville,

How to cite: Bournonville, M. (2023). Educational use of FishBase by public aquariums. Cybium, 47(3): 371-376.


With more than 700 million visitors annually, zoos and aquariums have the capacity of spreading scientific knowledge to a large public in order to raise awareness of conserving ecosystems with the help of their living collections. Zoological organisations have set standards to define the expectations in terms of education focusing on the quality of the information. To accomplish their mission, public aquariums need reliable sources of information. In anticipation of the FishBase-SeaLifeBase symposium which was held in Paris in September 2021, it was decided to conduct a preliminary survey to evaluate the use of these databases in public aquariums for educational purposes. This short survey was sent to approximately 2,000 aquarium curators and aquariologists around the world. It included questions about the type of information searched, how they were used, the constraints that currently hamper their use of FishBase and the tools that would be useful to them. With 93% of the 72 respondents claiming to use FishBase for educational purpose, the results of this preliminary work show that the database is probably widely used within this community to access accurate and relevant information about the species exhibited. Species distribution range, size and diet were among the most sought-after information and most of the respondents (74%) claimed that pictures and maps usable for signs and documents (high quality, free license) would be beneficial, which is consistent with the use made of this information to design exhibit signs. In conclusion, future collaborations would allow FishBase to reach a wider audience to raise awareness of the need to protect and conserve biodiversity and would ensure public aquariums provide accurate educational information. Yet the latter have specific needs regarding the format of the data they can use to communicate with their audience.

Mots-clés: Conservation awareness
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