Accessing OBIS data


Continue to the OBIS mapper.

R package and API

Read more about data access using the OBIS API or the OBIS R package in the OBIS manual.

Indicators and statistics

Continue to the Indicators.

New mapper

Continue to the new mapper. This mapper will replace the old one later this year and aims to provide better performance, the ability to add multiple layers, and more advanced statistics.

Guidelines on the sharing and use of data in OBIS

See our data policy.

External data sources


OBIS uses the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) as its taxonomic backbone. This means that the scientific names in datasets provided to OBIS are matched with WoRMS either by using the WoRMS webservices or by using the WoRMS LSID provided in the dataset. Scientific names which are marked as synonyms in WoRMS are linked to the currently accepted name.


OBIS uses geospatial data (EEZ, IHO and Marine World Heritage Site shapes) from Marine Regions. IHO geometries are used to create basin geometries, which are then intersected with EEZs in order to calculate basin specific country statistics. IHO and EEZ shapes arealso used to create ABNJ geometries. A 20 km inland buffer is added to EEZ shapes to correct for coastline inaccuracies. The Ecologically or Biologically Significant Areas (EBSA) shapes were provided by the Duke University Marine geospatial Ecology Lab.


Images displayed on the OBIS taxon pages are shown using the the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) webservice.

Conservation status

The conservation status of a species on the OBIS taxon pages is based on the IUCN Red List.


The IUCN Global Invasive Species Database is used to label species as invasive on the OBIS taxon pages.

Harmful micro algae

The IOC-UNESCO Taxonomic Reference List of Harmful Micro Algae is used to label species as a harmful micro algae on the OBIS taxon pages.

Environmental data

Environmental ranges for taxa are determined by matching species occurrences with environmental parameters from the World Ocean Atlas.


Metadata on institutions linked to datasets are provided by the VLIZ Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS).