The Ocean Biogeographic Information System:
Online marine species
Karen Stocks, Ph.D.
University of California, San Diego
Wednesday, May 5, 2004
Pacific Forum – 3:00 p.m.
As the information component of the Census of Marine Life, the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) is an online resource for data on species distributions in the ocean. By allowing users to search and integrate data across multiple distributed data providers—natural history museums, fisheries organizations, taxonomic specialists' holdings, government data centers, etc.—OBIS provides access to 2.8 million distribution records covering >30,000 marine species. Taxonomically, species from plankton to whales are represented. Geographically, the scope is global. The OBIS portal includes tools to map and download data, model species ranges from point distribution data, search for scientific names from common names and find synonyms for scientific names. This quickly-growing system is designed to support marine environment monitoring, resource management, and sustainable development, in addition to basic scientific research. A tour through the OBIS website will be given, as well as a glimpse of some of the data providers supporting OBIS.