Report of the 7th Session of the OBIS steering group, 12-16 November 2018, Oostende, Belgium

36 participants from 24 countries representing 24 OBIS nodes attended the 7th OBIS steering group meeting in Oostende (Belgium). The OBIS Steering Group made 35 recommendations and decisions, and defined 48 action items in an ambitious 2019 work plan. The meeting report is now available online.

November 22, 2018 - OBISOBIS Steering Group Meeting report

We are hiring! UNESCO contract for an OBIS IT consultant

We're hiring a 6-month OBIS IT consultant to develop an online data entry and editing tool that will make it easier to publish (a small number of incidental) observations to OBIS, allowing individual researchers to report important observations from under-represented areas and time periods and underreported species. Application deadline 15 November 2018

October 24, 2018 - OBISOBIS vacancy consultancy

Kenya joins the OBIS network

The Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) joined the OBIS network as the national OBIS node in Kenya.

October 10, 2018 - OBISKenya OBIS node

Rae Sita Pratiwi joined the OBIS secretariat to support the development of the OBIS-Indonesia node

We welcome Rae Sita Pratiwi as a UNESCO volunteer at the IOC Project Office for IODE, Oostende. During the next 6 months, she will support us with the development of a national OBIS node hosted at LIPI's Research Centre for Oceanography in Indonesia

October 02, 2018 - iOBISOBIS volunteer Indonesia

OTGA/INIOAS/OBIS Training took place in Iran, 23-26 September 2018

A training course under the auspices of the Ocean Teacher Global Academy (OTGA) on Marine Biogeographic Data processing using OBIS was organized by the IOC of UNESCO and the Iranian National Institute for Oceanography and Atmospheric Science (INIOAS) at INIOAS, I.R.IRAN which also hosts the OBIS node for the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman (PEGO-OBIS node).

October 02, 2018 - Abdolvahab MaghsoudlousOBIS training Iran

Indonesia joins the OBIS network through LIPI's Research Centre for Oceanography

The Research Centre for Oceanography of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences joined the OBIS network as the OBIS node in Indonesia.

October 02, 2018 - OBISIndonesia OBIS node

Report from the Pole-to-Pole MBON & GOOS & OBIS workshop "Marine Biodiversity - from the Sea to the Cloud"

The Pole to Pole Marine Biodiversity Observation Network of the Americas (P2P MBON) gathered researchers and managers from Canada to Patagonia and experts from other parts of the world, at the Centro de Biologia Marinha da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil (CEBIMar/USP) during the 2018 AmeriGEOSS Week (August 6-10, 2018). The main objective of the workshop was to promote the convergence on strategies for biodiversity monitoring and conservation in rocky intertidal areas and sandy beaches. This process continues to build the foundations of the P2P MBON network in the GEO context, in a partnership between various GEO elements (GEO BON/MBON, AmeriGEOSS, Blue Planet) and OBIS.

September 24, 2018 - Eduardo KleinOBIS training MBON GOOS

New data loaded, August 2018

Last August, 81 new datasets, 1.2M new records, and 3.5k new marine species were added to OBIS. The current version of the OBIS database now has 59 million occurrences of 121,400 species. The database report with a full dataset overview is available here.

September 10, 2018 - OBISnew data load

Call for applications - Fred Grassle Memorial Lecture Series

Dr J. Frederick (Fred) Grassle was one of the founding fathers of OBIS. Thanks to Fred, OBIS was a core component of the Census of Marine Life. With this memorial lecture series as part of the IODE scientific conference, we want to keep his dreams and vision alive. We are seeking applications for people who have made important contributions to OBIS. The selected applicant(s) will be honored by providing the Fred Grassle Memorial Lecture at the IODE Scientific Conference, 18-19 February 2019, in Tokyo (Japan).

September 07, 2018 - OBISFred Grassle Memorial Lecture Series

OBIS present at Sustainable Ocean Initiative training workshop for the Coral Triangle Initiative (Jakarta 31/Jul – 3/Aug 2018)

More than 40 representatives from seven countries reviewed the national and regional plans for the conservation of marine biodiversity in the Coral Triangle Initiative area, their impact on the Aichi targets and Sustainable Development Goals. During the workshop a marine spatial planning exercise was used to understand the importance of multi-sectoral decision making and to train the participants on how to use biodiversity resources, including OBIS, in the decision making process. All the training materials are available on the OceanTeacher website.

August 24, 2018 - Eduardo KleinOBIS training Jakarta CBD-SOI-CTI

In Memoriam - J. Frederick Grassle

We are very sad to learn about the loss of Dr J. Frederick (Fred) Grassle. Fred is one of the Godfathers of OBIS. We are extremely thankful for all his support and great wisdom and hope with OBIS we can keep his dreams and vision alive.

July 09, 2018 - OBISIn Memoriam Fred Grassle

IODE/OBIS-Event-Data workshop on animal tagging and tracking, 23-26 April 2018, Oostende, Belgium

Several major marine animal telemetry networks met at the OBIS project office and agreed to use the OBIS-ENV-DATA Darwin Core standard for the exchange and publication of detection data through OBIS (both acoustic and satellite) and work with OBIS and the scientific community to calculate species home ranges, migration pathways and movement patterns.

May 18, 2018 - OBISOBIS animal tracking OBIS-ENV-DATA Darwin Core Event Core

FishNet2 and FishBase together are the new global thematic Fish OBIS node

Quantitative Aquatics (Philippines) and the Tulane University Biodiversity Research Institute (USA), which host Fishbase and FishNet2 respectively, joined the IODE network as Associate Data Units (ADUs) and jointly will operate the global thematic Fish OBIS node.

May 08, 2018 - OBISOBIS network Fish

IOC invests in OBIS2.0, a major re-engineering of the OBIS platform

Through extra-budgetary funding, the IOC of UNESCO invests US$170,000 to further modernise the OBIS infrastructure and technology stack which will support real-time data integration, quality control, and analysis of rich marine data streams. The release of OBIS2.0 is expected around the end of 2018.

April 17, 2018 - OBISOBIS2.0 Infrastructure

Vacancy Senior computer scientist

The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) is looking for a senior computer scientist (m/f/x, 100% employment, permanent contract) for immediate employment to support us at the UNESCO/IOC Project Office for IODE in Oostende (Belgium).

March 20, 2018 - OBISvacancy

The First U.S. IOOS Biological Data Training Workshop, 8-9 February 2018

The US Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) and the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) organized a training workshop to develop a community of practice around the management and analysis of biological ocean observing data. Outcomes from the workshop include a collection of software and scripts available on a GitHub repository to aid in the curation of biological data and an expanded network of IOOS, Canadian and OBIS collaborators that are all motivated to expand the global repository of marine biodiversity information. The training materials are also available on the OceanTeacher website.

March 20, 2018 - Jennifer BoschOBIS training USA

FEPS/OBIS/OTGA/SEF Marine Species Distribution Modeling, Oostende, Belgium, 12 - 16 March 2018

26 participants from 15 countries were trained in all aspects of marine species distribution modelling from data collections to model evaluation and presentation were discussed. The training course was organized by FEPS, OBIS and SEF and funded through the IOC's OceanTeacher Global Academy and all the training material is available online.

March 16, 2018 - Samuel BoschOBIS training Belgium

UK joins the OBIS network through the MBA

The Marine Biological Association (MBA) joined the OBIS network as the OBIS node in the UK.

February 20, 2018 - OBISUK OBIS node

African OBIS training course, 12-16 February, 2018 at KMFRI, Mombasa, Kenya

19 scientists and data managers from 8 African countries (Comoros, Congo, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Namibia, Nigeria and Tanzania) participated in the OBIS training course, 12-16 February 2018, hosted by the OceanTeacher regional training centre at the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) in collaboration with the European OBIS node (hosted by the Flanders Marine Institute, VLIZ, Belgium). The training course will help the region in publishing and accessing marine biodiversity data through the OBIS data platform. All the training materials are available on the OceanTeacher website.

February 20, 2018 - Nina WambijiOBIS training Kenya

INVEMAR joins OBIS as the OBIS node in Colombia

The Marine and Coastal Research Institute of Colombia (INVEMAR) is a national institution in charge of marine research, the generation of data and establishing data management systems to share environmental data. INVEMAR was already involved as a data provider to OBIS during the Census of Marine Life project, which ended in 2010. INVEMAR joined IODE as an Associate Data Unit in 2015, and now become the official OBIS node of Colombia. They wish to make available their technical capacity, infrastructure and experience in marine sciences. We are delighted to welcoming INVEMAR to the OBIS network!

January 11, 2018 - Ward AppeltansOBIS nodes Colombia

Fellowships available - Training course in Marine Species Distribution Modelling, 12-16 March 2018, Belgium

The OceanTeacher Global Academy, in collaboration with OBIS, the Federation of European Phycological Societies (FEPS) and the Spanish phycological society (SEF), will organize a week-long training session on Marine Species Distribution Modelling, 12-16 March 2018, in Oostende, Belgium. The call for applications is open until 14 January 2018.

December 12, 2017 - Ward AppeltansOBIS training Belgium

OBIS Nodes Training course, Oostende, Belgium, 27 Nov - 1 Dec 2017

22 OBIS nodes data managers from 17 countries were trained in the application of ratified Darwin Core terms, using the new OBIS-ENV-DATA standard, which combines sampling events and species occurrences with abiotic/biotic measurements as well as sampling facts. In addition, the new OBIS data access and QC tools (based on OBIS R packages and WoRMS/LifeWatch tools) were thaught. The training course was funded through the IOC's OceanTeacher Global Academy and all the training material is available online.

December 11, 2017 - Ward AppeltansOBIS training Belgium

New data loaded, 30 November 2017

On November 30, 230 new datasets, 9,699,997 new records, and 1,869 new marine species were added to OBIS. The current version of the OBIS database now has 58 million occurrences of 117,901 species. The database report with a full dataset overview is available here.

November 30, 2017 - OBISnew data load

Call to Contribute to Global Harmful Algal Bloom Status Reporting

16 HAB experts from 13 countries were trained in OBIS data entry at the UNESCO-IOC headquarters in Belgium. Based on this training, the effort of compiling and increasing data sets is being intensified in order to provide a substantial part of the basis for a first Global HAB Status Report. This report series will provide the scientific community as well as decision makers with a reference on HAB occurrence and impacts on ecosystem services.

November 03, 2017 - Hallegraeff et al.HAB training

OBIS Training course Kuala Terrenganu, Malaysia, 22-26 October 2017

16 researchers from 8 countries in S-E Asia were trained in OBIS at UNESCO-IOC's OceanTeacher Regional Training Centre in Malaysia. This is one of eight OBIS training courses in 2017, making use of IOC's OceanTeacher Global Academy learning platform. New training material was developed (including many R scripts) and is available online.

October 30, 2017 - Ward AppeltansOBIS training Malaysia

Harmful Algal Bloom data training course, Belgium, 25-28 September 2017

16 harmful Algae experts from 13 countries are trained in data entry into the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and the Harmful Algae Event Database (HAEDAT). The data will be used for the Global HAB Status Report.

September 27, 2017 - OBISOBIS training HAB

OBIS Training course Dakar, Senegal, 17-20 July 2017

OBIS training course in Senegal completed successfully. This is one of eight OBIS training courses on marine biodiversity data management that will be organized in 2017, making use of IOC's Ocean Teacher Global Academy learning platform.

September 12, 2017 - Ismaïla NdourOBIS training Senegal

6th OBIS Steering Group report published

The meeting report of the 6th session of the OBIS Steering Group is online. 38 decisions and recommendations were adopted.

August 17, 2017 - OBISsteering group community

New OBIS Data Science Officer

Dr Samuel Bosch recently joined the OBIS secretariat, as our Data Science Officer.

August 17, 2017 - iOBISOBIS secretariat staff data science officer

OBIS Asian nodes and Coral Reef Training Course, 22-26 October 2017, in Kuala Terengganu, Malaysia

The course provides an introduction to OBIS and includes best practices in marine biogeographic data management, data publication, data access, data analysis and data visualisation. The course aims to reinforce and expand the OBIS network in the South-East Asian Region and to increase the amount and quality of open access biodiversity data published through OBIS and its OBIS nodes to enhance research, species conservation and area-based management applications. The course will put extra focus on coral reef biodiversity. Applications should be submitted through the online form before 30 August 2017.

August 17, 2017 - OBIStraining Asia

OBIS Training course Santa Marta, Colombia, 12-16 June 2017

OBIS training course in Colombia completed successfully. This is one of several training courses on marine biodiversity data management that will be organized in Latin America in 2017, making use of OceanTeacher learning platform.

July 07, 2017 - Carolina PeraltaOBIS training Colombia

New data loaded, 22 May 2017

On May 22, 39 new datasets, 601,362 new records, and 5,942 new marine species were added to OBIS. The current version of the OBIS database now has 48.4 million occurrences of 123,287 species. The database report with a full dataset overview is available here.

May 23, 2017 - OBISnew data load

CLOSED, Call for applications, 2-month OTGA/OBIS consultancy contract to develop OBIS training packages

IOC-UNESCO's IODE/OBIS project office is inviting applications for a consultancy contract during July-August 2017 to develop OBIS training modules in the OceanTeacher Moodle training platform.

May 05, 2017 - OBISOBIS OceanTeacher Consultancy

WEBINAR 8 MAY 2017 - Towards a coordinated global marine biodiversity observing system

Nic Bax (GOOS), Frank Muller-Karger (MBON) and Eduardo Klein (OBIS) will give an overview of GOOS-BioEco, GEOBON/MBON, and OBIS, and highlight the agreement between them to build a global marine biodiversity observing system by making use of the best available resources; share expertise; and ensure compatibility between outputs and advice from the three initiatives.


New OBIS node in Malaysia

The Institute of Oceanography and Environment (INOS) of the University of Malaysia Terengganu joined the OBIS network as the OBIS node in Malaysia.

April 13, 2017 - OBISMalaysia OBIS node

What can OBIS do for a new UN Treaty on marine biodiversity in the open ocean?

This week, the United Nations are concluding the third of four sessions to prepare for a new treaty to conserve and sustainably use marine biodiversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction (50% of our planet’s surface). Last week, several delegates strongly proposed to build on existing structures, and referred to OBIS in the context of data access and technology transfer.

April 03, 2017 - OBISPREPCOM-3 BBNJ

Healthy Oceans, Resilient Islands

Nearly 100 representatives of 35 Small Islands and Developing States (SIDS), including experts from the UN and EU, met at the IODE/OBIS project office 7-9 March 2017 to discuss SIDS specific challenges and opportunities to prepare for the 3rd Preparatory Committee Meeting on a potential new UN Treaty on Biodiversity Beyond areas of National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). Programmes of the IOC of UNESCO including OBIS was recognized as a platform from which to build on.

March 24, 2017 - OBISSIDS BBNJ

Call for Applications, OBIS Training course, 17-20 July 2017, Dakar, Senegal

An OBIS training course will be organized in Senegal, preferably for French speaking scientists and data managers in Africa. The training course is organized by the Centre de Recherches Océanographiques de Dakar-Thiaroye, which is the OBIS node in Senegal and one of the Regional Training Centres of UNESCO-IOC's OceanTeacher Global Academy. This OBIS training course is funded through the Flanders UNESCO Trust Fund (FUST) for the support of UNESCO's activities in the field of Science.

March 13, 2017 - OBISOBIS training Senegal

OBIS Training course Mérida, Mexico, 27/2-3/3 2017

OBIS training course in Mexico completed successfully. This is one of several training courses on marine biodiversity data management that will be organized in Latin America in 2017, making use of OceanTeacher learning platform.

March 13, 2017 - Carolina Peralta, Diana Ugalde and Venus RochaOBIS training Mexico

CPPS joins OBIS as a new OBIS node in the South Pacific

The Permanent Commission for the South Pacific (CPPS) has become an IODE Associate Data Unit and joined OBIS as a new OBIS node. CPPS is an intergovernmental body created in 1952. This Regional Maritime Organization promotes and articulates the cooperation and coordination of the maritime policies of its Member States: Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. CPPS administrates two online information systems: the Information System on Marine Biodiversity and Protected Areas (SIBIMAP) and the geoportal of the Southeast Pacific Data and Information Network to Support the Integrated Coastal Area Management Project (SPINCAM). One of the CPPS objectives is become a knowledge node in the region and provide a permanent platform to integrate data from different projects and programmes carried out in the region. We welcome CPPS to the OBIS network!

February 24, 2017 - OBISOBIS nodes CPPS

6th OBIS Steering Group meeting, Okinawa, Japan

The 6th session of the IODE Steering Group for OBIS took place on 1-3 February 2017, at Okinawa (Japan). The meeting was kindly hosted by the Japanese OBIS node based at JAMSTEC’s Global Oceanographic Data Center (GODAC). Important topics for discussion were (i) representation of the contributions from the network of OBIS nodes and data providers, (ii) agreement on a succession plan for inactive nodes, (iii) implementation of the new OBIS-ENV-DATA standard, (iv) OBIS2.0 technical developments (v) strategize OBIS training, (vi) engagement with the observing community and (vii) our contribution in the science-policy and assessment domain, among many other operational issues. The full agenda kept us busy for 3 days. 沖縄にようこそ

January 30, 2017 - OBISSG-OBIS-VI Okinawa

Expanding OBIS beyond species occurrences

A new open-access OBIS paper ( is just published and proposes a standard and technological solution for the publication of combined biological, physical and chemical measurements as well as sampling methodology. The paper is the result of the OBIS-ENV-DATA pilot project which ran under the International Oceanographic Data and information Exchange (IODE) programme of IOC-UNESCO.

January 12, 2017 - OBISenvironmental data standards sampling event

New data loaded

On December 23th, 705,000 records from 94 new datasets, and 1,779 new marine species, were added to OBIS. The current version of the OBIS database now has 47.78 million occurrences of 117,345 species. The database report with a full dataset overview is available here.

December 23, 2016 - OBISnew data load

In Memoriam - Richard J. Lisovsky

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the passing away of Dr Richard J. Lisovsky

December 15, 2016 - Oleksandr Neprokin (OBIS Black Sea)in memoriam OBIS BlackSea

New agreement to coordinate a global marine biodiversity observing system

Three major initiatives (GOOS, OBIS and GEOBON MBON) signed a collaboration agreement to join efforts towards a sustained, coordinated global ocean system of marine biological and ecosystem observations to support management decisions and address relevant science and societal needs. OBIS plays a key role in fostering wider data sharing, curation and aggregation in order to streamline the feeding of integrated and quality controlled datasets into models and forecasts.

December 15, 2016 - OBISpartnership observing system

CLOSED, Job opening at OBIS - Data Science Officer

IOC of UNESCO is seeking to recruit a Data Science Officer to join the OBIS secretariat based at the IOC Project Office for IODE in Oostende (Belgium), to provide data management support to the secretariat, customer support and training to the network of OBIS nodes and its user community. An important part of the job will include working for the European Commission Horizon 2020 project on monitoring Ecosystem Services (ECOPOTENTIAL). The job requires excellent data management, analytical and communication skills. Deadline for applications: 15 January 2017.

December 09, 2016 - OBISvacancy data science officer

5th OBIS Steering Group report published

The meeting report of the 5th session of the OBIS Steering Group is online. 44 decisions and recommendations were adopted including the election of a new co-chair: Mr Sky Bristol (USGS/OBIS-USA), who will support co-chair Prof Eduardo Klein (USB-Venezuela/Caribbean OBIS).

November 30, 2016 - OBISsteering group community

Extracting and Enriching OBIS Data with R

Programmatic access to biodiversity data is revolutionising large-scale, reproducible biodiversity research. In this series of tutorials we show how OBIS data can be accessed programmatically from within the Open Source statistical computing environment R. This exposes OBIS data to the full range of manipulations, visualisations, and statistical analyses provided by R. It also makes it possible to link and enrich OBIS data, combining it with other environmental, geographic, and biological data sets to better understand the distribution and dynamics of marine biodiversity.

November 22, 2016 - Tom Webbdata access R data products

Visualisation of biodiversity richness, gaps and completeness

Proposed new OBIS visualisation of marine species richness, gaps and completeness. Using Belgium as a test case.

November 17, 2016 - Tom Webbbiodiversity data products

Deep-sea biodiversity - a known unknown?

Our deep-sea might be richer in species that we think based on geographic ranges and species discovery trends

November 16, 2016 - Nick Higgsdeep sea biodiversity

Occupancy Modelling in Marine Data - An example use case with OBIS

This post is a proof-of-concept on the application of occupancy modelling to extract robust temporal trends for tracking changes in ocean biodiversity and identifying potentially at risk species, exploiting the largely underused temporal dimension in unstructured OBIS data. This could significantly expand the range of marine taxa that can be included in synthetic indices of the state of marine biodiversity.

November 15, 2016 - Alun Jonesdata products modelling

The revival of the deep sea in OBIS

33 participants from 16 countries, representing 20 different deep-sea programmes and data systems attended the first International OBIS-INDEEP training workshop on 25-28 October 2016. The meeting created the momentum to build an international alliance of young scientists with a common vision to provide open access to deep-sea biodiversity data and enhance our understanding of the deep-ocean ecosystem in order to better inform ocean governance and management.

November 14, 2016 - Ward Appeltansdeep sea community

Line transects and polygons

OBIS is not only point data, it also handles line transects and polygons

November 04, 2016 - Ward Appeltansdatabase

OBIS training course in Colombia

INVEMAR (Colombia) hosted a regional OBIS training course, in Spanish - September 2016

October 17, 2016 - Ward Appeltanstraining community

OBIS training course in Colombia

INVEMAR (Colombia) hosted a regional OBIS training course, in Spanish - September 2016

October 17, 2016 - Ward Appeltanstraining community

Beta release of new OBIS website

We welcome you to explore our new website and encourage you to provide feedback during the beta release period.

June 06, 2016 - Ward Appeltanswebsite

New data loaded

On 31 May 2016 new data was loaded on the international OBIS portal, the total number of records stands now at just over 47 million, from 2089 individual data sets.

May 31, 2016 - Ward Appeltansdatabase

Streamlining and enriching the analysis of OBIS data using R

OBIS is the largest global repository of marine biodiversity data. As such, there is considerable interest among the research community in using OBIS data for large scale macroecological and biogeographic analyses. This is reflected in the number of citations of OBIS in the scientific literature.

May 25, 2016 - Tom Webb and Alun Jonesdata analysis


International OBIS-INDEEP training & workshop, 25-28 October 2016 - Belgium

May 17, 2016 - Ward AppeltansINDEEP workshop

4th OBIS Steering Group report published

The fourth session of the OBIS Steering Group took place on 10-12 February 2015 at the IOC project office for IODE in Oostende, Belgium.

July 13, 2015 - Ward Appeltansreport Steering Group

Oceans Past Initiative joins OBIS

The Oceans Past Initiative (OPI) is a global research network for marine historical research. Their goal is to enhance knowledge and understanding of how the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life in the world’s oceans has changed over the long term to better indicate future changes and possibilities, and to contribute to the sustainable use of marine systems.

July 02, 2015 - Ward Appeltanscommunity OPI

New data loaded

On 17 April January 2015 new data was loaded on the international OBIS portal, the total number of records stands now at just over 43 million, from 1,801 individual data sets.

April 17, 2015 - Ward Appeltansdatabase

GBIF and IOC signed agreement of cooperation

A new collaboration between the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC) aims to improve the volume and quality of information available to policy makers for conservation and sustainable use of the ocean's biological resources. The two institutions have signed a Letter of Agreement which recognizes IOC-UNESCO as a GBIF Affiliate and GBIF as an IODE Associate Data Unit.

October 03, 2014 - OBISGBIF network