Opportunities and limitations of large open biodiversity occurrence databases (OBIS and GBIF) in the context of a Marine Ecosystem Assessment of the Southern Ocean (MEASO).
The Southern Ocean is a productive and biodiverse region, but it is also threatened by anthropogenic pressures. Bonnet-Lebrun et al. argue that protecting the Southern Ocean should start with well-informed Marine Ecosystem Assessments of the Southern Ocean (MEASO), a process that will require biodiversity data. In this context, open geospatial biodiversity databases such as Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS) and Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) provide good routes, through aggregated geo-referenced taxon locations. However, like most aggregated databases, these might suffer from sampling biases, which may hinder their usability for a MEASO. In this recent study, the authors assess the quality and distribution of OBIS and GBIF data in the context of a MEASO. They found strong spatial, temporal and taxonomic biases in these data, with several biases likely emerging from the remoteness and inaccessibility of the Southern Ocean. The authors’ identification of sampling biases helps us provide practical recommendations for future data collection, mobilisation and analyses.
Bonnet-Lebrun, A., Sweetlove, M., Griffiths, H. J., Sumner, M., Provoost, P., Raymond, B., Ropert-Coudert, Y., & Van De Putte, A. P. (2023). Opportunities and limitations of large open biodiversity occurrence databases in the context of a Marine Ecosystem Assessment of the Southern Ocean. Frontiers in Marine Science, 10. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2023.1150603.