Who we are

As a thematic node of the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), a group of investigators, led by Andrew Read and Patrick Halpin of Duke University, started building Ocean Biogeographic Information System Spatial Ecological Analysis of Megavertebrate Populations (OBIS-SEAMAP), a spatially, temporally interactive online database for marine mammal, sea turtle, seabird and ray & shark data back in 2002. This service is made possible by data sharing from contributors all over the world.

A notable difference from typical online databases of this kind is that OBIS-SEAMAP provides custom-tailored applications such as the Density Mapper for habitat-based density models for marine mammals, the PhotoID matching workflow, the mapping tool for sea turtle nesting sites and more.

OBIS was one of the projects of Census of Marine Life and now is a project under IOC-UNESCO's International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE). OBIS-SEAMAP data are regularly uploaded to OBIS as well as GBIF.

Visit Patrick Halpin's Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab web site

Visit Andy Read's Marine Conservation Ecology Lab web site


OBIS-SEAMAP is aimed at augmenting our understanding of the distribution and the ecology of marine mammals, seabirds, sea turtles and rays & sharks by the following approaches:

  • Quantify the global patterns of marine species distribution and biodiversity
  • Design and implement standard databases and innovative sampling techniques
  • Emphasize time series / comparative studies
  • Facilitate study of status and impacts on threatened species
  • Enhance ability to test hypotheses about biogeographic and biodiversity models
  • Support modeling of shifting species distributions in response to environmental change

Funding Sources

Funding for the OBIS-SEAMAP project has been provided by:

  • Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
  • National Science Foundation
  • National Oceanographic Partnership Program
  • Naval Postgraduate School

OBIS-SEAMAP Observation Data

The observation data held by OBIS-SEAMAP are collected from contributors worldwide. They are registered into the OBIS-SEAMAP database and presented on the web site upon data contributors' permission. The ownership of the data belongs to the contributors.

The use of the data is subject to the OBIS-SEAMAP Terms of Use. Please contact the contributor(s) before you obtain the data under "permission required" policy.

Along with the spatial database, OBIS-SEAMAP provides feature-rich mapping tools to explore species occurrences across the globe. You can download the data for more in-depth work.
To learn more, visit the following pages.


(To cite OBIS-SEAMAP, please take a look at Terms of Use. Also note that individual datasets have their own citations. Please see their Dataset Page for the citation information.)

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