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EurOBIS – EMODnet Biology

Marine Biodiversity


EMODnet biology is a thematic group of EMODnet providing free access to data on temporal and spatial distribution of marine species and species traits from all European regional seas. It is built upon the World Register of Marine Species and the European Ocean Biogeographic Information System. EMODnet Biology aims to provide a single access point to European marine biodiversity data and products by assembling individual datasets from various sources and processing them into interoperable data products for assessing the environmental state of ecosystems and sea basins.

Type and number of data sets

EurOBIS was developed by the Flanders Marine Institute in 2004, within the framework of the MarBEF project (MARine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning). It brings together biogeographic data collected within European marine waters, or by European researchers and institutes outside Europe. It focuses on taxonomy and distribution records in space and time and offers a number of online tools to easily query and visualise the data. Currently, EurOBIS holds 956 datasets, representing 62.299 species and 24 million distribution records. With more than 6 million distribution records, fish are the most common in the database, followed by (sea) birds and marine mammals.
Over the years, the EurOBIS database structure has evolved, making it possible to not only capture presence or abundance of species, but also e.g. biomass data and length measurements in a standardised and structured way. Remarkably, even ‘blubber thickness in marine mammals’ is part of the EurOBIS information system, with 247 measurements made on the beach, in species such as harbour porpoise, grey seal, harbour seal, white-beaked dolphin or bottlenose dolphin.

Core Services

The data can be discovered and accessed by means of the Data Catalog or the Data Download Toolbox. The data discovery and access services are available from the EMODnet Biology website.

Function in Blue-Cloud

The EurOBIS data, in particular the Continuous Plankton Recorder dataset from the UK Marine Biological Association, is used in the pilot Blue-Cloud Demonstrator “Zoo and Phytoplankton EOV products”. This Blue-Cloud demonstrator aims to obtain phytoplankton, zooplankton, and nutrients EOV products that contribute to improving our knowledge and reduce uncertainty regarding the state of marine plankton ecosystems, as well as their response to ongoing and future climate change. 
The collaboration with Blue-Cloud allows to search for EurOBIS biodiversity data in the Blue-Cloud Discovery and Access Service, and to use the data in the Blue-Cloud VRE.


Blue-Cloud partners involved