Expanding OBIS beyond species occurrences

An OBIS workshop explored the options of biodiversity data standards to create new combined oceanic datasets.

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas)

Green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) by jackmorley licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) was established in 2000 to create an online, user-friendly system for absorbing, integrating and accessing data about life in the oceans. In 2005, OBIS, adapted the Darwin Core (DwC) standard for biodiversity data, which supports publishing through GBIF.

Following with the implementation of sampling event data in GBIF, OBIS established a pilot project to investigate best practices for storing and sharing combined datasets. This paper summarizes the findings of workshop in Oostende in 2015, at which members of the project consortium used pilot datasets to design DwC-based solutions to challenges of combined oceanic data.

The workshop explored several different combinations of Darwin Core components and extensions, and decided that the best suitable solution would be based on the Event Core combined with an Occurrence extension and a revised MeasureofFact extension. The proposed standard will allow OBIS to move beyond just occurrence data and enable event-based datasets combining biological, physical and chemical measurements.


De Pooter D, Appeltans W, Bailly N, Bristol S, Deneudt K, Eliezer M, Fujioka E, Giorgetti A, Goldstein P, Lewis M, Lipizer M, Mackay K, Marin M, Moncoiffé G, Nikolopoulou S, Provoost P, Rauch S, Roubicek A, Torres C, van de Putte A, Vandepitte L, Vanhoorne B, Vinci M, Wambiji N, Watts D, Klein Salas E and Hernandez F (2017) Toward a new data standard for combined marine biological and environmental datasets - expanding OBIS beyond species occurrences. Biodiversity Data Journal. Pensoft Publishers 5: e10989. Available at: https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.5.e10989.