What is FishNet?

Map of FishNet with ProvidersThe FishNet network is a collaborative effort among fish collections around the world to share and distribute data on specimen holdings. There is an open invitation for any institution with a fish collection to join.

The network was created in 1999 and initially relied upon a distributed query model based on the Z39.50 search/retrieval protocol. Over the years, FishNet has transitioned through a number of technological improvements. The modern search portal relies upon a core web service known as the Biological Object Search Service (BOSS) which is comprised of a series of software and database components that harvests data from providers, imports harvested data into a data cache and exposes the data cache via publicly accessible web based APIs. The architecture for FishNet 2 has been mirrored to provide similar search portals for reptile and amphibian data within HerpNET and bird data within ORNIS.

Collaborative Georeferencing Project (2012-2015)

A collaborative georeferencing and data enhancement project titled "Georeferencing U.S. Fish Collections: a community-based model to georeferencing natural history collections" has been funded by the United States National Science Foundation. Twelve collaborating institutions are working to expand and improve data quality within the FishNet network with a primary focus on geospatial referencing records lacking geographic coordinates (approximately 45% of the network holdings at the time of funding).


  • ANSP, Academy of Natural Sciences Philadelphia (PIs: John Lundberg & Mark Sabaj, Tech: Mariangeles Arce Hernandez)
  • CAS, California Academy of Sciences (PIs: Luiz Rocha & Dave Catania, Tech: Lorenzo Benito)
  • CUMV, Cornell University (PIs: Amy McCune & John Friel, Tech: Laura Porturas)
  • FMNH, Field Museum (PIs: Mark Westneat & Leo Smith, Tech: Justin Grubich)
  • LACM, Los Angeles County Museum (PIs: Christine Thacker & Rick Feeney, Tech: Paul DeSalles)
  • TU, Tulane University (PIs: Hank Bart & Nelson Rios, Project Manager: Michael Doosey, Tech: Megan Roberson)
  • FLMNH, University of Florida (PIs: Larry Page & Rob Robins, Tech: Michelle Vanderwel)
  • INHS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (PIs: Chris Taylor, Tech: Rachel Vinsel)
  • KU, University of Kansas (PIs: Ed Wiley & Andy Bentley, Tech: Katy Wichman)
  • UMMZ, University of Michigan Ann Arbor (PIs: Bill Fink & Douglas Nelson, Tech: Diego Barroso)
  • MSB, University of New Mexico (PIs: Tom Turner & Alexandra Snyder, Tech: Theresa Lorraine McInnes)
  • UT, University of Texas at Austin (PIs: Dean Hendrickson, Tech: Melissa Casarez)