Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 22 Issue 02

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Volume 22, No. 2
Pages 104 - 115


OBIS-SEAMAP: The World Data Center for Marine Mammal, Sea Bird, and Sea Turtle Distributions

Patrick N. Halpin Andrew J. Read Ei Fujioka Ben D. Best Ben DonnellyLucie J. HazenConnie KotKim Urian Erin LaBrecqueAndrew Dimatteo Jesse Cleary Caroline Good Larry B. CrowderK. David Hyrenbach
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Article Abstract

The science needed to understand highly migratory marine mammal, sea bird, and sea turtle species is not adequately addressed by individual data collections developed for a single region or single time period. These data must be brought together into a common, global map based on a coherent, interoperable, and openly accessible information system. This need was clearly articulated by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation when they co-sponsored a new effort to directly address this issue in 2002. The result is OBIS-SEAMAP: the world data-center for marine mammal, sea bird, and sea turtle information. OBIS-SEAMAP brings together georeferenced distribution, abundance, and telemetry data with tools to query and assess these species in a dynamic and searchable environment. In a second round of NOPP support that began in 2007, the National Science Foundation is helping expand this effort into new technologies and data types. To date, the OBIS-SEAMAP information system includes more than 2.2 million observation records from over 230 data sets spanning 73 years (1935–2008), and growth of this data archive is accelerating. All of these data are provided by a growing international network of individual and institutional data providers.


Halpin, P.N., A.J. Read, E. Fujioka, B.D. Best, B. Donnelly, L.J. Hazen, C. Kot, K. Urian, E. LaBrecque, A. Dimatteo, J. Cleary, C. Good, L.B. Crowder, and K.D. Hyrenbach. 2009. OBIS-SEAMAP: The world data center for marine mammal, sea bird, and sea turtle distributions. Oceanography 22(2):104–115, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2009.42.


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