Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 13 Issue 03

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Volume 13, No. 3
Pages 5 - 7

The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS): An On-line, Worldwide Atlas for Accessing, Modeling and Mapping Marine Biological Data in a Multidimensional Geographic Context

J. Frederick Grassle
First Paragraph

OBIS is a component of the Census of Marine Life (CoML) an international program to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life. There is no adequate system for retrieval of ocean biological data. The few existing databases do not usefully summarize known distributions and abundance of marine life nor are they organized to encourage frequent use and intercomparison of datasets. An on-line, user-friendly system for absorbing, integrating, and assessing data about life in the oceans will stimulate taxonomic and systematic research and generate new hypotheses concerning evolutionary processes, factors related to maintenance of species distributions, and roles of marine organisms in marine ecosystem function.


Grassle, J.F. 2000. The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS): An on-line, worldwide atlas for accessing, modeling and mapping marine biological data in a multidimensional geographic context. Oceanography 13(3):5–7, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.2000.01.