You are here

Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS)


The Ocean Biogeographic information System (OBIS) seeks to absorb, integrate, and assess isolated datasets on marine biodiversity into a larger, more comprehensive picture of life in our oceans. The system hopes to stimulate research about our oceans to generate new hypotheses concerning evolutionary processes, species distributions, and roles of organisms in marine systems on a global scale.

OBIS provides a gateway to datasets containing information on where and when marine species have been recorded. The datasets are integrated so they can be searched seamlessly by species name, higher taxonomic level, geographic area, depth, and time. The search results can then be mapped and linked with available environmental data.


Link with LifeWatch Taxonomic Backbone: 

Since 2012, there is an intensified collaboration between OBIS, the WoRMS Data Management Team and the Editorial Board of WoRMS. The goal is to link all names within OBIS to the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), ensuring a correct use of taxonomic terminology within OBIS and making it possible to link unaccepted names with their accepted ones. If names are not in WoRMS - e.g. because it is a terrestrial species or an non-existing name - they are added to an annotated list.

The EurOBIS data management team at VLIZ is providing technical support to OBIS, including the hosting of the OBIS database at VLIZ and the development of quality control procedures that were implemented on the OBIS database.

The activities are supported by LifeWatch.

OBIS is accessible through the occurrence web services of the e-Lab.