Missouri Botanical Garden Open Conference Systems, TDWG 2016 ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Font Size: 
A collaborative online biological sample database that serves as a high quality data provider for global information systems.
Marika Ichiyanagi, Tohru Iseto, Takako Sato, Nobuyuki Saito, Masatomo Hisazumi, Takashi Hosono, Tomoki Sasaki, Hideaki Saito, Yasunori Hanafusa

Last modified: 2016-09-30


The Japan Agency of Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) has been engaged in research on the ocean, earth, and life since 1971, and has obtained a variety of data and samples through JAMSTEC cruises and activities. After the “Basic Policies on the Handling of Data and Sample by JAMSTEC” (http://www.jamstec.go.jp/e/database/data_policy.html) were enforced in 2007, the JAMSTEC data management office (DMO) began to manage these data and samples, and have made them accessible to the public via a series of online databases (http://www.jamstec.go.jp/e/database/).

In compliance with the policy data records of over 40, 000 biological samples, collected from the surface of the ocean to a depth of 10, 902 m by JAMSTEC research projects since 1982, have been assembled and provided to the Marine Biological Sample Database (http://www.godac.jamstec.go.jp/bio-sample/index_e.html). These data are  formatted in a way that is similar to the Darwin Core,  for archiving and contributing to other information systems such as the Ocean Biogeographic Information System.

However, JAMSTEC biological samples are dispersed, and stored by each scientist who collected them (since biological samples are not dividable or duplicable). These scientists have detailed information on how samples were collected, treated, processed, and stored, whereas DMO keeps consistent metadata for research projects, cruises and dive activities. Therefore, co-management of these scientists and DMO enables improvement in data quality. To achieve collaborative sample management, DMO applies the user authentication system of the Marine Biological Sample Database which allows the scientists and DMO to access the online editor interface and edit the data.

With these refined data, this database also works as an entry point for access, allowing  potential sample users to browse and request samples. Another benefit is that the storage of data and digitized samples in the database reduces the risks of data and samples being lost from natural or man-made disasters.

The collaborative online database serves not only as a sample management tool, but also as a data provider to global information systems. The collaboration of scientists and DMO improves data quality, and networks and data standards support information exchange among providers and users.