Here we highlight stories about use of data provided by OBIS. If you have stories you want to post here, please feel free to get in touch. If you have publications you want to share, youmight want to send us a PDF, for inclusion in our publications page.
Nature Paper: Global patterns and predictors of marine biodiversity across taxa
Authored by: Tittensor et al. http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v466/n7310/full/nature09329.html
Global patterns of species richness and their structuring forces have fascinated biologists since Darwin and provide critical context for contemporary studies in ecology, evolution and conservation. Anthropogenic impacts and the need for systematic conservation planning have further motivated the analysis of diversity patterns and processes at regional to global scales. Whereas land diversity patterns and their predictors are known for numerous taxa, our understanding of global marine diversity has been more limited, with recent findings revealing some striking contrasts to widely held terrestrial paradigms. Here we examine global patterns and predictors of species richness across 13 major species groups ranging from zooplankton to marine mammals using OBIS data. Two major patterns emerged: coastal species showed maximum diversity in the Western Pacific, whereas oceanic groups consistently peaked across broad mid-latitudinal bands in all oceans. Spatial regression analyses revealed sea surface temperature as the only environmental predictor highly related to diversity across all 13 taxa. Habitat availability and historical factors were also important for coastal species, whereas other predictors had less significance. Areas of high species richness were disproportionately concentrated in regions with medium or higher human impacts. Our findings indicate a fundamental role of temperature or kinetic energy in structuring cross-taxon marine biodiversity, and indicate that changes in ocean temperature, in conjunction with other human impacts, may ultimately rearrange the global distribution of life in the ocean.
Journal of Biogeography: Panbiogeographical analysis of distribution patterns in hagfishes (Craniata: Myxinidae)
Authored by: Mauro Jose´ Cavalcanti and Valeria Gallo http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01859.x/abstract
The authors aimed to analyse the worldwide distribution patterns of hagfishes using panbiogeographical track analysis, and to attempt to correlate these patterns with the tectonic history of the ocean basins. The distributions of 47 out of 70 species of hagfish (in the genera Eptatretus, Myxine, Nemamyxine, Neomyxine, and Paramyxine) were studied by the panbiogeographical method of track analysis. The analysis was performed using distributional data obtained from the collections included in the Ocean Biogeographic Information System and FishBase (http://www.fishbase.org), with additional records from the literature. Individual tracks were obtained for each species by plotting localities and connecting them by minimum-spanning trees. Generalized tracks were determined from the spatial overlap between individual tracks. They found six generalized tracks: in the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, South-eastern Atlantic, Western Pacific, North-eastern Pacific and South-eastern Pacific. The distribution patterns of myxinids are marked by a high degree of endemism and vicariance, and are correlated with the tectonic features involved in many of the events that led to the development of oceanic basins. The generalized tracks of hagfishes are shared by several other groups of marine organisms, including many from shallow tropical waters, implying a common history for this marine biota. Overall, vicariance is a major feature of hagfish distribution, suggesting vicariant differentiation of widespread ancestors as a result of sea-floor spreading between continents in connection with ocean formation.
Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (2009 Report) Defining ecologically or biologically significant areas in the open oceans and deep seas: Analysis, tools, resources and illustrations http://www.gobi.org/Library/gobi-literature/GOBI%20Report%202009.pdf/view?searchterm=gobi%20report%202009
One of the more intuitive criteria on which conservation efforts are based is ‘Species Diversity.’ One index that is relatively insensitive to observation bias is Hurlbert’s index, calculated as the number of species in a random subsample of the available data. Applying Hulbert’s index to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) data holdings, it is possible to investigate global patterns of species diversity (see figures below). In addition, the loggerhead telemetry data were downloaded from OBIS-SEAMAP (Ocean Biogeographic Information System Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Populations ). The telemetry datasets held in OBIS-SEAMAP are ideal for home range studies and habitat models.
Overview maps based on OBIS data; top left: number of records available through OBIS, corrected for differences in surface are between squares on different latitude; top right: total number of species, corrected for differences in surface area between squares on different latitude; bottom left: Shannon diversity index; bottom right: Hurlbert index or es(50), the expected number of species in a random selection of 50 records
FishBase.org is an information system available on-line covering all fishes of the world in a fashion that is both global and deep. FishBase covers over 30,600 species of fish, i.e., most of the extant species in the world, and addresses the needs of a vast array of potential users, ranging from ichthyologists, fisheries biologists, ecologists and managers to biology teachers, administrators and the public at large. The features of FishBase that enable it to meet such a wide range of needs reside in its architecture, which makes extensive use of modern relational database techniques.
One special feature of FishBase is its ability to draw computer generated fish distribution maps, through the AquaMaps project. These maps use OBIS data and GBIF data as their sources. An example map for white perch is shown below.
Informed management of the environment has to be supported by data. It is the ambition of the OBIS community to provide a sound basis for ocean management decisions, by facilitating publication of marine biodiversity data, and stimulating open and free access for all potential users. OBIS is aimed at stimulating research generating new hypotheses concerning evolutionary processes and species distributions. By integrating data from a vast number of sources, OBIS creates opportunities to study effects of global change on marine biodiversity. Making these data freely and openly available, OBIS levels the playing field, and plays an important role in data repatriation to third-world countries - where the highest diversity is found, but where resources to study and manage this natural wealth are often lacking. Repatriation has many potential benefits to the whole scientific community, but also faces series of problems and hurdles including the lack of funds and technology. Successful repatriation effort usually involves capacity building and other related efforts, and often repatriation is a component of a larger process. Please contact us to find out more about data repatriation for your individual country.
For more detail on data repatriation in general see: http://enbi.utu.fi/Documents/Ulla%20Helimo%20PRO%20GRADU.pdf