Ocean Biodiversity Informatics
International Conference on Marine Biodiversity Data Management
Hamburg, Germany: 29 November to 1 December 2004
Intro Objectives Programme Publications Statement Participants People


We know very little about the biodiversity in the world's oceans. But one thing is sure: the diversity of the type of data and information that is stored in data systems around the world is increasing dramatically. In two important meetings, the first in Hamburg in 1996, the second in Brussels in 2002, biologists have discussed how to take an example from the physical oceanographers, and to formulate plans on how to work together to integrate individual databases. Developments in technology have made possible new approaches to data sharing and dissemination. Distributed databases are becoming a reality, and the advantages of a distributed system now far outweigh the extra cost of technical complexities to create them.

The International conference on Marine Biodiversity Data management 'Ocean Biodiversity Informatics' was held in Hamburg, Germany, from 29 November to 1 December 2004. Its objective was to offer a forum to marine biological data managers to discuss the state of the field, and to exchange ideas on how to further develop marine biological data systems. Many marine biologists are actively gathering knowledge, as they have been doing for a long time. What is new is that many of these scientists are willing to share their knowledge, including basic data, with others over the Internet. Our challenge now is to try and manage this trend, avoid confusing users with a multitude of contradicting sources of information, and make sure different data systems can be and are effectively integrated.

The OBI proceedings will be printed soon and copies will be sent to all conference participants. A digital copy is already available to download.

Vanden Berghe, E., W. Appeltans, M.J. Costello, P. Pissierssens (Eds). Proceedings of 'Ocean Biodiversity Informatics': an international conference on marine biodiversity data management Hamburg, Germany, 29 November - 1 December, 2004. Paris, UNESCO/IOC, VLIZ, BSH, 2007. vi + 192 pp. (IOC Workshop Report, 202) (VLIZ Special Publication, 37)
[download] (8.5MB); online first on 2007-01-23.

Theme section in Marine Ecology Progress Series 2006 (316)

A special Theme Section of nine papers in the prestigious international Marine Ecology Progress Series marks the official recognition of a new interdisciplinary area of research called "Ocean Biodiversity Informatics" (OBI). The flagship project of OBI is the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) (www.iobis.org), the data component of the Census of Marine Life (www.coml.org).

This global initiative is growing fast. OBIS already publishes almost 10 million location records for 61,000 species from more than 100 databases online. The international portal at Rutgers State University of New Jersey is supported by 10 regional centres around the world. To read more about how OBIS is helping to redefine marine biology: click here.


Go to MEPS special publication on OBI: http://www.int-res.com/abstracts/meps/v316/.

The OBI conference took place from 29 November till 1 December 2004 in Hamburg (Germany). OBI was a great success. We had 168 participants, from 37 countries. There were 37 oral and 33 poster presentations. Some pictures are posted on the MarBEF NoE web site.

Book of Abstracts

The abstracts of all the presentations are published in the 'Book of Abstracts'. A PDF version is available to download at: Book of Abstracts (3.3MB).


All the presentations that were sent to the OBI secretariat and for which the authors agreed to publish, are now brought online at Programme.