The Global System of Ecosystem Observatories (GSEO)

GSEO is a developing thematic BON, an emerging network of field site networks focused on harmonisation and coordination. The aim of the system is to provide access through GEOSS (e.g. through the GEOSS Access Broker) to a significant set of biodiversity observations from in situ sources (sites), which alone or in combination with models and other components of GEO BON, will 1) quantify and map the drivers of environmental change and their impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem processes; 2) quantify and map the consequences of biodiversity loss on the services and goods provided by ecosystems and the benefits that would be derived from remediation and restoration of degraded ecosystems; and 3) deliver products to end users to support decision making at local, national and global levels related to the sustainable use of biodiversity and ecosystems.

The GSEO will also contribute to several other GEO BON deliverables under development in GEO BON Working Groups on Genetics, Species, Ecosystem, Freshwater, and Remote Sensing. The main GSEO stakeholders will be the data providers and science community who operate sites and networks and deliver products from them. The main users of the system will be national and international agencies and organisations that need to make broad-scale assessments of the risks posed by global environmental change to ecosystems and the social and economic benefits they derive from them.

The Global Wetland Observing System (GWOS)

GWOS is a thematic BON, a collaborative development and capacity building effort lead by Wetlands International and several GEO BON members to bring together available information on the status and values of wetlands and water in a way that can support policy processes and decision making at various geographic scales. It will, once fully developed, describe extent and condition as well as change and trends over time of a variety of wetland types. Amongst others it will feed into the Ramsar Convention’s “State of the Worlds Wetlands and their Services” flagship publication and their “Global Wetland Outlook”.

Funding through the EU H2020 project SWOS allows development of an operational element of GWOS with a geographic focus on Europe but following a global approach. The activities in SWOS will lead GWOS from the planning phase into the first (European) implementation phase 2015-2018. Other projects like the ESA Globwetland Africa Project (starting in late 2015) will also provide funding for development and capacity building activities contributing to the GWOS over the next years.

The Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON)

The Letter of Agreement between MBON, OBIS, and GOOS.

MBON is a thematic BON in development. Marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and provides a multitude of essential ecosystem services, yet no global network for organised biodiversity observations is in place. The GEO BON Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON) is envisioned as GEO BON’s key pillar for the marine realm. It is a crosscutting activity linking GEO BON with Blue Planet (GEO’s overarching marine task), GOOS’s Biodiversity and Ecosystems Panel, and other marine and biodiversity initiatives and data sharing strategies. It will help coordinate many individual programs that monitor various aspects of marine biology and biodiversity and provide the ability to share data, experiences, and protocols to understand species and the status and trends of ecosystem and their services. Thus it will build on existing data infrastructures such as the World Register of Marine Species and the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). A Pole-to-Pole MBON in the Americas concept is being planned as the first major phase of MBON. Several countries in the Americas have initiated a dialogue to understand the connection between ecosystems along this latitudinal gradient, and it is anticipated that initiatives in other regions will follow. Tools developed under MBON efforts will be available to include in a marine BON in a Box.

6ac002bd-d4b5-45df-9e03-69b462aecd9c27205071_MBONThe MBON Task within the Marine Ecosystem Change Working Group is led by Frank Muller-Karger, in partnership with Gabrielle Canonico of the NOAA Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS) program office, and Woody Turner of the NASA Applied Sciences and Biodiversity and Ecological Forecasting programs. At present, the GEO BON Marine Ecosystems Change WG is helping to facilitate a conversation between countries in the Americas. The leadership of the Antares ocean observation network (, Eduardo Santamaria del Angel (Mexico) is working on developing a consensus among groups developed in Antares to participate. The Antares network is a consortium of organisations in different countries, some with support from the local government or university, but also with some support from the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI).

The US is sponsoring various academic, private, and government groups to develop pilot MBON programs focused on National Marine Sanctuaries (Florida Keys, Monterey Bay), the broader Santa Barbara Channel, and the Chukchi Sea. The U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and NASA are funding three projects to demonstrate how a national operational marine biodiversity observation network could be developed. Additional sites are sponsored under the MarineGEO program coordinated by the Smithsonian Institution’s Tennenbaum Marine Observatories Network (TMON,, which includes partners in the Americas, Pacific, and Asia.

The vision of the Marine Biodiversity Observation Network of GEO BON is a global network of observation systems that supports understanding of marine biodiversity including how it changes through time and promotes ecosystem conservation, sustainability, and good management practices.

The MBON mission is to facilitate the development, implementation, and ongoing functioning of a network of observation efforts that monitors essential ocean variables (EOV) defined by the Global Ocean Observing System. MBON emphasizes knowledge of changes in marine life and ecology, promoting the integration of regional datasets through archives that can communicate with each other such as through the Ocean Biogeographical Information System (OBIS).

Key Objectives:
1. Lead and coordinate institutions, people, and communities of practice in different countries and regions to facilitate the development and implementation of an operational MBON of global scope.
2. Develop methods and resources for sampling, data management, and delivery (including publication) of data, key variables and indicators to scientists and policy makers.
3. Harmonise activities with other related initiatives, including those within the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC, including OBIS and GOOS) as well as other science initiatives and national and international resource management and conservation efforts.