The First U.S. IOOS Biological Data Training Workshop


The inaugural Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) Biological Data Training Workshop was held February 8-9, 2018 in Seattle, WA. The workshop built on the successful partnership between IOOS and the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) to develop a community of practice around the management and analysis of biological ocean observing data. It provided hands-on training to partners from the IOOS Regional Associations, Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON), National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI), Federal and State government agencies, Smithsonian MarineGEO, Ocean Tracking Network, Animal Telemetry Network, Ocean Networks Canada, and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The objective of the workshop was to educate participants in the benefits, goals, technology and process to make biological data more widely accessible in standardized formats and disseminated via community systems.


People sit at rows of tables with open laptops during the workshop

Workshop participants at the first IOOS Biological Data Training Workshop. Photo Credit: NOAA/IOOS


The workshop began with an introduction to applications of biological data, including the MBON Portal, OBIS Portal, MBON Explorer and Infographics, and MBON Seascapes. Participants were then introduced to IOOS and OBIS standards and tools for biological data and web services for data access, like rOBIS and ERDDAP. Following these presentations were several hands-on sessions where participants could begin to align their own data to the Darwin Core standards, WoRMS taxonomy, and metadata standards that are used for reporting on global biological diversity data. “This workshop is an important first step towards greater collaboration in making marine biological data available on an international scale. As the community of practice continues to develop we will see significant developments in our ability to understand our oceans.” – Kevin Gallagher, USGS Associate Director for Core Science Systems

Outcomes from the workshop include a collection of software and scripts available on a GitHub repository to aid in the curation and use of biological data, training materials available on the OceanTeacher website, and an expanded network of IOOS, Canadian and OBIS collaborators that are all motivated to expand the global repository of marine biodiversity information. Carl Gouldman, Director of the IOOS Program, said “As IOOS expands to include biological observations, we believe it is critical to build a community of practice with the tools and skills necessary for management of standardized biological data. We seek to do this with direct involvement of local, national, and global partners through training and workshops to ensure successful integration of data into the existing IOOS network.”

Hosted by the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS, an IOOS Regional Association), this workshop was funded by U.S. IOOS and co-sponsored with the U.S. Node of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (U.S. Geological Survey, OBIS-USA) in coordination with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission’s OceanTeacher Global Academy and OBIS international. The hope is that these workshop resources can be adapted as technologies are developed to streamline management of biological data, and that they can be replicated for other groups interested in applying Darwin Core and associated standards and dissemination practices in their biological data management activities.


group of four pictures of workshop participants listening to a speaker and working with one another at tables

During the 2-day workshop, participants learned about OBIS from U.S. and international instructors. They also collaborated and discussed the Darwin Core alignment of their individual datasets. Photo Credits: NOAA/IOOS & OBIS


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