After five years of MarBEF, Europe is now in a position to take the lead in marine biodiversity research. The MarBEF community has built the world’s largest databases on macrobenthos, meiobenthos and pelagic marine species. Well over 100 scientists from 54 institutions in 17 countries have contributed not less than 223 datasets to the MarBEF data system. This has resulted in 4.3 million distribution records of 17,000 species in all the European seas and many of theworld’s oceans. The oldest record dates back to 1768.