This site documents the early conceptualization and development of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). It was last updated in early 2000 and is being preserved as a reference document. For information about the current OBIS project and access to its data portal, please visit

Please reference this site as "Stocks, K.I., Y. Zhang, C. Flanders, and J. F. Grassle. OBIS: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. The Institute of Marine and Coastal Science, Rutgers University. 2000.

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The Institute of Marine and Coastal Sciences
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Origin   Description   Input   Output   Staff   Acknowledgments

Towards an on-line Atlas of Marine Diversity


Output picturesOBIS (Ocean Biogeographic Information System) is a database of global marine animal and plant distributions. Like an old-fashioned coffee-table atlas of distributions, it is designed to hold information about where species have been found. However, unlike a printed range map, OBIS allows users to produce individualized output tables and maps for the species, geographic locations, and environmental factors of interest. The goal is a tool to describe global and regional patterns of diversity in the oceans, and to form a better basis for investigation of global biodiversity.

At present, the OBIS database structure has been designed, and is being tested on several initial data sets. Over the weeks to come, the OBIS design will be improved, and more data sets will be solicited and incorporated.

General Questions:


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 Please contact Jen Gregg if you have questions or comments about OBIS (no general inquiries, please): Jen Gregg (

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