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OBIS-SEAMAP: Developing a biogeographic research data commons for the ecological studies of marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles

TitleOBIS-SEAMAP: Developing a biogeographic research data commons for the ecological studies of marine mammals, seabirds, and sea turtles
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2006
AuthorsHalpin, PN, Read, AJ, Best, BD, Hyrenbach, KD, Fujioka, E, Coyne, MS, Crowder, LB, Freeman, SA, Spoerri, C
JournalMar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.Mar. Ecol. Prog. Ser.
KeywordsBiogeography · Marine mammals · Seabirds · Sea turtles · Oceanography · Spatial, ecology · GIS · Ecoinformatics · OBIS, EMU, GIS and oceanography, Ocean Biogeographic Information System Spatial Ecological Analysis of Marine-megavertebrate Animal Populations

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.

Short TitleMarine Ecology Progress SeriesMarine Ecology Progress Series
Alternate JournalMarine Ecology Progress Series