University of South Florida

USF College of Marine Science


Obligation to Enhance OBIS Data for Sea- and Shorebirds of the Americas

Savannah Hartman

"This work highlights that data from these areas need to be shared, and identifies a need to prioritize opportunities for scientists to contribute to the growth and well-being of open-access data initiatives." - Savannah Hartman 

Many sea- and shorebird species span large geographic areas, making them ideal candidates as biomonitors of ecosystem changes, such as fluctuations in temperature, food supply, and exposure to environmental contaminants. However, scientists face a tough question: Is there enough available data to assess long-term trends?  For this study we used the global, open-access data archive called Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS) to take a closer look.  Here's a snapshot of what we found:

  • We did find areas off the northeast and northwest coasts of the United States, and the southern tip of South America, that could be used to observe environmental changes over the past 50 years.
  • The family Procellariidae, which includes open-ocean petrels and shearwaters, were documented in the most marine ecoregions.
  • Petrels and shearwaters, in addition to coastal seagulls, had the longest temporal records -- making them ideal candidates to study large geographic areas over the last few decades.
  • Data were in short supply for most Central and South American coastlines, and the Caribbean Sea. 

Return to article listing

Mission Statement

Our blue planet faces a suite of challenges and opportunities for understanding and innovation. Our mission is to advance understanding of the interconnectivity of ocean systems and human-ocean interactions using a cross-disciplinary approach, to empower the next workforce of the blue economy with a world-class education experience, and to share our passion for a healthy environment and science-informed decision-making with community audiences near and far.