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OBIS Concept
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  1. OBISOcean Biogeographic Information System- presentation for OceanPortal workshop, March 2004Tony Rees, CSIRO Marine Research

  2. OBIS Concept • Global marine species distribution data are currently highly dispersed, non-uniform in format, and only partly accessible electronically • OBIS exists to provide a single access point to such data, to perform real-time integration and standardisation of data requested, and to provide value-added services e.g. mapping, modelling, data download, through a distributed system accessed via the world wide web • Initial OBIS portal has been operational since 01/2002 (located at Rutgers Univ., NJ.): (recently upgraded) • Present OBIS maps are 2-D; long term goal is to aim for 3-D and 4-D visualisation tools.

  3. Current OBIS Content • Today 1.6m, soon 2m+ records covering approx. 20,000 marine species (still patchy for S. hemisphere) • Today 17, soon 20+ distributed data sources (number to grow substantially in future) • Australia is both potential contributor of data to, and user of data from OBIS • Regional portals (e.g. proposed Australian OBIS node) will provide local-flavoured view of OBIS data, and potentially region-specific additional data layers and tools • Still a way to go to cover all known species in the ocean (est. 200,000+) with all available data – however will ultimately incorporate all new CoML (Census of Marine Life) field data.

  4. Types of Queries Supported • Get me / map all available distribution data for species x(optionally: subset by region, time, depth slice) • Get me / map all available species distribution data for region y (optionally: subset by taxonomic group, time, depth slice) • Overlay selected species distribution/s with selected environmental layers • Extrapolate from available data points to regions where species may also be anticipated to occur (niche modelling), based on user-selectable parameters • Show a list of all names for which OBIS currently has data, as subset of master list of all marine species (refine by taxonomic group, genus as desired)

  5. (map from non-OBIS source) Typical screenshots ...

  6. From Bryden et al. 1998 ( ... Guide to the Sea Mammals of Australasia):

  7. winter breeding migration paths summer feeding Interesting Future Challenge for OBIS: representing the temporal component ... Humpback whales – current OBIS data (Australian region)

  8. Lessons for / Synergies with OceanPortal? • OBIS content is a potentially valuable data source for OceanPortal • Some current / future OBIS tools could be useful on OceanPortal • OceanPortal tools, environmental data may be valuable to OBIS (in true web services environment) • OBIS is an example prototype distributed data system, probably some useful system architecture / implementation / data visualisation experiences to look at • OceanPortal, OBIS node could possibly be co-located, so look for synergies / integration potential.

  9. More Information: • OBIS website and current portal –, or contact Tony Rees (OBIS IC + Tech. S’cttee) and / or Kim Finney (OBIS Mgmt Cttee) for additional information • Australian OBIS node proposal is a joint NOO / CMR submission; Kim Finney has details • OBIS is a component of the (international) Census of Marine Life. Australian national CoML committee is a mechanism for Australia to influence / contribute to OBIS ongoing development (see Kim Finney or Alicja Mosbauer for details).