Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

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Toward a new data standard for combined marine biological and environmental datasets - expanding OBIS beyond species occurrences.
Pieter Provoost, Daphnis De Pooter, Ward Appeltans, Sky Bristol, Philip Goldstein, Gwenaëlle Moncoiffé, Leen Vandepitte, Francisco Hernandez

Building: CTEC
Room: Auditorium
Date: 2016-12-09 02:35 PM – 02:40 PM
Last modified: 2016-11-04


The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) grows with millions of new species observations every year. Contributions come from a network of hundreds of institutions, projects and individuals with common goals: to build a scientific knowledge base that is open to the public for scientific exploration and discovery, and to detect trends and changes that inform society as essential elements in conservation management. Until now, OBIS has focused solely on the collection of biogeographic data (the presence of marine species in space and time) and operated with quality control procedures and data standards specifically targeted to these data. Based on requirements from the growing OBIS community for data archiving and scientific applications, OBIS launched the OBIS-ENV-DATA project to enhance its data standard by accommodating additional data types. The proposed standard allows for the management of sampling methodology, animal tracking and telemetry data, and environmental measurements such as nutrient concentrations, sediment characteristics and other abiotic parameters measured during sampling to characterize the environment from which biogeographic data was collected. The new OBIS data standard builds on the Darwin Core Archive and on practices adopted by the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). It consists of an Event Core in combination with an Occurrence Extension and a proposed enhancement to the MeasurementOrFact Extension. This new structure enables the linkage of measurements or facts - quantitative or qualitative properties - to both sampling events and species occurrences and includes additional fields for property standardization. The OBIS standard also embraces the use of the new Darwin Core term parentEventID, enabling a sampling event hierarchy. We believe that the adoption of this new data standard for managing and sharing biological and associated environmental datasets by the international community will be key to improving the effectiveness of the knowledge base, and will enhance integration and management of critical data needed to understand ecological and biological processes in the ocean.