GEO BON Secretariat

February 28, 2017

News posted in GEO BON projects

The GEO BON MBON community is encouraged to send news items to:
CJ Reynolds at MBON cjreynolds[at]
Or directly to Laetitia Navarro at GEO BON info[at]

Upcoming workshops
UNAM Hosts Biodiversity Workshop Series in the Yucatan

UMDI-Sisal, Facultad de Ciencias, UNAM organized an OBIS-platform hands-on training course in Merida, Yucatan, Mexico, February 27-March 3, 2017. Although the course is sold-out, the organizers are collecting requests for future sessions. In addition, to foster taxonomic and ecological knowledge of less-studied taxa in Latin-American countries, UNAM is hosting two biodiversity workshops in Spanish this summer and fall. To register, go to: Curso de Taxonomía y Sistemática de Esponjas (Demospongiae) del Golfo de México y Caribe Mexicano and Taxonomy, Systematics and Ecology of Bryozoans.
UNAM may offer additional OBIS courses to meet high demand, according to the Head of the Department of Coastal and Ocean Systems, Dra. Elva Escobar-Briones. Please let Nuno Simoes ( and Eduardo Klein ( know if interested in additional courses.

US MBON to Integrate SDG 14 into Products

Frank Muller Karger, PI of the US MBON Sanctuaries project is organizing a meeting in March to discuss data needs and strategies to integrate UN Sustainable Development Goal #14 into MBON data products. The goal of the meeting is to develop a prototype product or products that are applicable at the local level and satisfies questions of local coastal zone and conservation area managers, such as those of the US National Marine Sanctuaries, and can also be scaled to address one or more SDG 14 targets. The product would be developed over the summer to show to USGEO agencies prior to the October GEO Plenary. The meeting will be hosted by USF College of Marine Science at the Harbor Hall Community Room on March 15-17, 2017. For information contact:

Monthly 1 hour GEO BON MBON webinar

GEO BON MBON holds monthly international webinars through GotoMeeting at 4 pm US Eastern time.
You can also dial in using your phone.
United States +1 (312) 757-3121
Access Code: 823-482-421

Past webinar summaries:

14 November 2016 Mark Costello spoke on “Latitudinal gradients in marine biodiversity”.

12 December, 2016 Discussion about EBVs and two guest presentations:
1) NASA proposed COVERAGE project for CEOS: Vardis Tsontos, Jorge Vazquez, and Eric Lindstrom provided an overview of COVERAGE, which seeks to build a project that brings together 4 CEOS ocean satellite virtual constellations to facilitates widespread access and use of ocean satellite data. 2) Project Ocean Watch:

January 9, 2017 Conversation between MBON, Fresh-water BON (Eren Turak and members of FW BON), and GEO Wetlands (Adrian Strauch and members of GEO Wetlands).

FEBRUARY 13 Demonstration of OBIS and OBIS contribution to BON in a BOX

Upcoming webinars:

MARCH 13: links between MBON, GOA-ON/LAOCA, and exploring linkages needed between biogeochemical databases and OBIS

APRIL 10: Merging with GOOS (IOC/UNESCO) Webinar series: GEOBON and the collaboration between GOOS-OBIS-MBON (connection information will be provided later)

Other news
MBON Data Strategies Discussed at ESIP

MBON data integration and coordination strategies were discussed in two sessions at the Federation of Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP) annual winter meeting, Bethesda, MD, USA, 11-13 January 2017.

The session “Reeling in the biologists: connecting the dots between observers, integrators, and decision makers” hosted by Abby Benson (USGS-OBIS) discussed strategies to produce datasets that can be incorporated into indicators. The group examined connections between MBONs, US IOOS and the Marine Biodiversity Virtual Laboratory (MBVL, funded by NSF) which is developing a computational framework for modeling and predicting biodiversity.

Margaret O’Brien (Santa Barbara Channel MBON) led the “Harmonizing vocabularies for population studies” session which focused on tasks needed to fully operationalize the conceptual “Essential Biodiversity Variables”, or EBVs, so they can be applied to MBON datasets, much the same way that CF Conventions are applied to measurements of physical phenomena, and for closer alignment between Darwin Core terms and the varied field observations managed by MBONs.

Future Earth held a Future Oceans meeting in Kiel 4-5 December 2016.

MBON was represented at a side event in the CBD CoP in Cancun in December, 2016

Documents and Publications
EMU released by Esri and US Geological Survey
Esri and the USGS used the NOAA World Ocean Atlas global oceanographic measurements representing the ocean’s physical and chemical properties most likely to drive ecosystem responses. From millions of measurements taken, 37 physically and chemically distinct volumetric regions, or EMUs, were statistically derived.

GEO BON Book Chapter on MBON methods

Mark Costello and colleagues have published an overview of methods for the study of marine biodiversity in a new GEO BON book. The chapter highlights examples of operational international sampling programmes and data management infrastructures.

Citation: Costello MJ, Basher Z, McLeod L, Assad I, Claus S, Vandepitte L, Yasuhara M, Gislason H, Edwards M, Appeltans W, 2 Enevoldsen H, Edgar G, Miloslavich P, de Monte S, Sousa Pinto I., Obura D, Bates A. 2016. Methods for the study of 3 marine biodiversity. In: GEO Handbook on Biodiversity Observation Networks, Scholes RJ and Walters M. (eds), 4 Springer. In press.

U.S. MBON Researchers Evaluate Large Marine Ecosystems of the Americas

A new publication by MBON researchers explores whether adjacent Large Marine Ecosystems (LMEs) of the Americas may be linked, forming megaregions for assemblages of commercially-valuable fish. The study also sought to assess changes in the diversity of fisheries landings in LMEs of the Americas over time. The researchers analyzed environmental observations (Sea Surface Temperature, chlorophyll concentration, and primary productivity) and biological diversity indices based on reconstructed fisheries landings obtained from the Sea Around Us project. To test for similarities between LMEs, the researchers used the “seascape” approach of unsupervised clustering of annual mean environmental observations and fisheries-derived diversity indices. Beta-diversity estimates based on fisheries landings were used to evaluate the degree to which species spanned LMEs. Temporal trends were computed for each of the datasets by linear least-squares.

Three megaregions emerged in the Atlantic Ocean when considering similarities in species composition of fisheries landings, fisheries-derived diversity indices, and characteristic environmental conditions among LMEs. No megaregions were identified among the LMEs of the Pacific Ocean. Read more in the journal Environmental Development.

Megaregions among the large marine ecosystems of the Americas, Frank Muller-Karger, Digna Rueda-Roa, Francisco Chavez, Maria Kavanaugh, Mitchell A. Roffer, Environmental Development, 24 January 2017,

Study Comparing Genetic and Manual Survey Methods Yields Different and Complementary Views of an Ecosystem

Several of the US MBON projects are studying the use of environmental DNA methods to assess biodiversity within the sites. MBON eDNA team researcher Collin Closek, from the Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University, is a co-author on a newly published article “Genetic and Manual Survey Methods Yield Different and Complementary Views of an Ecosystem” which compares biodiversity methods through multiple genes with eDNA vs. traditional manual counts. The study appeared in Frontiers in Marine Science, section Marine Molecular Biology and Ecology, 09 January 2017 Lead author Ryan P. Kelly was supported by a grant from the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and Closek was supported by the NASA grant NNX14AP62A “National Marine Sanctuaries as Sentinel Sites for a Demonstration Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (MBON).”

The eDNA work of Collin Closek and Alexandria Boehm (Stanford University) was featured on the BBC World Service. Collin was interviewed on the work he presented at AGU on vertebrate fishery assessments through metabarcoding eDNA in MB. Link to the sound byte:

Collin also presented MBON eDNA work from the Monterey Bay (USA) Fall historical time series at the Young Environmental Scholars Conference at SU on February 10.

Sustainable Use of Oceans Requires Effective Global Coordination

In the Jan. 24, 2017, issue of Nature Ecology and Evolution, Jay Golden et al. comment on trends and the possible futures of industrialized oceans. To achieve sustainable global industrialization will require institutions to be updated or reimagined to effectively measure, monitor and manage the oceans. The researchers indicate improved data collection and transparency, and public-private partners are necessary to balance competing goals at the core of public policy and governance, finance and the management of global supply chains. The researchers note the joint efforts by the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), and the Marine Biodiversity Monitoring Network (MBON) as an example of organizations working to derive useful information from aggregated regional and global in situ and satellite remote sensing data.

News from the Marine BON