OBIS-SEAMAP: developing a biogeographic research data commons for the ecological studies of marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles
Halpin, P.N.; Read, A.J.; Best, B.D.; Hyrenbach, K.D.; Fujioka, E.; Coyne, M.S.; Crowder, L.B.; Freeman, S.A.; Spoerri, C. (2006). OBIS-SEAMAP: developing a biogeographic research data commons for the ecological studies of marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser. 316: 239-246
Our ability to understand, conserve, and manage the planet’s marine biodiversity is fundamentally limited by the availability of relevant taxonomic, distribution, and abundance data. The Spatial Ecological Analysis of Marine Megavertebrate Animal Populations (SEAMAP) initiative is a taxon-specific geo-informatics facility of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) network. OBIS-SEAMAP has developed an expanding geo-database of marine mammal, seabird, and sea turtle distribution and abundance data globally. The OBIS-SEAMAP information system is intended to support research into the ecology and management of these important marine megavertebrates and augment public understanding of the ecology of marine megavertebrates by: (1) facilitating studies of impacts on threatened species, (2) testing hypotheses about biogeographic and biodiversity models, and (3) supporting modeling efforts to predict distributional changes in response to environmental change. To enhance the research and educational applications of this database, OBIS-SEAMAP provides a broad array of web-based products and services, including rich species profiles, compliant metadata, and interactive mapping services. This system takes advantage of recent technological advances in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Internet data standards, and content management systems to stimulate a novel community-based approach to the development of a data commons for biogeographic and conservation research. To date, the global OBISSEAMAP database includes >1 million observation records from 163 datasets, spanning 71 yr (1935 to 2005) provided by a growing international network of data providers.