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Antarctic Biodiversity Informatics (EG-ABI)

Publications, Data and Links of interest to the Antarctic Biodiversity Informatics community

+ Projects

The EG-ABI community organizes regular, hands-on meetings related to a range of projects and other matters of general interest.

Current projects:

Retrospective Analysis of Antarctic Tracking Data

The overarching goals of the RAATD project are to undertake a multi-species assessment of habitat use of Antarctic top predators in the Southern Ocean based on existing animal tracking data to identify Areas of Ecological Significance (AES), which are regions that are important for foraging to a range of predators and which have high diversity and abundance of lower trophic levels. The project will provide (i) a greater understanding of fundamental ecosystem processes in the Southern Ocean (ii) facilitate future projections of predator distributions under varying climate regimes and (iii) provide input into spatial management planning decisions for management authorities such as CCAMLR. The synopsis of multi-predator tracking data will also expose potential gaps of data coverage in regions or seasons that are important but under-represented, possibly as a result of spatial, temporal, or taxonomic biases in research effort. This will provide an important input for directing future studies.

See the  pdf report from the 2016 Brussels workshop (391 KB) , or the  pdf report from the 2016 workshop in Delmenhorst, Germany (523 KB)

Southern Ocean Diet and Energetics Database

Project home page:

Information related to diet and energy flow is fundamental to a diverse range of Antarctic and Southern Ocean biological and ecosystem studies. EG-ABI is collating a centralised database of such information to assist the scientific community in this work. It will include data related to diet and energy flow from conventional (e.g. gut content) and modern (e.g. molecular) studies, stable isotopes, fatty acids, and energetic content. It will be a product of the SCAR community and open for all to participate in and use.

Antarctic or Southern Ocean researchers holding such data, or interested in using such data in their work, are encouraged to make contact.

We are holding an open information session as well as a workshop at the 2017 SCAR Biology symposium to show the current state of the database, invite further data contributions, and solicit ideas on how these data could be used and what additional system functionality might be valuable. Come along and see how you can be involved!

Core working group:

  • Antonio Aguera (Université libre de Bruxelles, Belgium)
  • Maelle Connan (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University, South Africa)
  • Hauke Flores (Alfred Wegener Institute, Germany)
  • Luis Hückstädt (University of California Santa Cruz, USA)
  • Mary-Anne Lea (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Australia)
  • Julie McInnes (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Australia)
  • Ben Raymond (Australian Antarctic Division, Australia)
  • Fokje Schaafsma (Institute for Marine Resources & Ecosystem Studies, Netherlands)
  • Gabriele Stowasser (British Antarctic Survey, United Kingdom)
  • Rowan Trebilco (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Australia)
  • Anton van de Putte (Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Belgium)
  • Andrea Walters (Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, Australia)

Spatial modelling

A number of groups in the SCAR community are developing and applying methods for spatial biodiversity modelling, including species distribution and habitat selectivity models. Given the wide applicability and interest in these techniques, EG-ABI is working to improve collaboration within the community by helping with communication, access to software and data, and sharing of expertise.

Details about these activities will be added soon.

Dynamic version of the Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean

An online version of the printed Atlas: see Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean for more information.

The Microbial Antarctic Resource System

mARS is an open information system dedicated to facilitate the discovery, access and analysis of geo-referenced, molecular microbial diversity (meta)data generated by Antarctic researchers. It encompasses all free-living and host-associated viruses, bacteria, archaea, and singled-celled eukaryotes. mARS is composed of interoperable modules, iteratively building the microbial component of the infrastructure. The mARS initiative brings innovative perspectives to Antarctic microbial biodiversity research and its applications. Once mARS reaches full operability it is envisioned that new research areas in both basic and applied areas will be significantly enabled. For example, biogeography, bioprospecting, environmental impact, species introductions, and climate change-related studies will be made possible using a data-driven approach accessible through mARS. Also, mARS will allow the consolidation of a new community within SCAR and new perspectives for collaboration within and beyond SCAR. There is also significant potential for expanding the model for genetic work carried out on all organisms, allowing integrated studies on Antarctic biodiversity. The last mARS workshop took place in Brussels, in May 2014, to initiate beta-testing mARS to take it to Step 3, as described in the vision document.

See the Microbial Antarctic Resource System page for more information.


Past projects:

Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean

The Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean was published in printed form in 2014. See

+ Publications

EG-ABI reports:

2015: The Retrospective Analysis of the Antarctic Tracking Data (RAATD) project has taken a big step forward. A team of data crunchers and modelers met at a joint EG-BAMM and EG-ABI meeting in Brussels to compile and standardise the datasets on the one hand, and to start processing them and choose modeling options on the other.

The meeting was hosted by the Belgian Science Policy Office in Brussels and was extremely successful: The project has now more than 2 million lines of data points from above 2000 individuals from 14 species of top predators covering almost all the Southern Ocean (see map attached). Report above.

2014: The Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean

The Southern Ocean waters to the west of the Antarctic Peninsula are warming faster than almost any other place on Earth. This area of most rapid environmental change was among others targeted by the Census of Antarctic Marine Life in its collection of biogeographic information. Such biogeographic information is of fundamental importance for monitoring biodiversity, discovering biodiversity hotspots, defining ecoregions and detecting the impacts of environmental changes. It is the preliminary and necessary step in designing marine protected areas in a changing ocean.

At the end of five years of extensive biodiversity exploration and assessment by CAML ( and the OBIS Antarctic Node (the SCAR Marine Biodiversity Information Network,, a new initiative, the multi-authored "CAML Biogeographic Atlas of the Southern Ocean", has been established under the aegis of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) to provide an up-to-date synthesis of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic biogeographic knowledge and to make available a new comprehensive online resource for visualisation, analysis and modelling of species distribution.

It will constitute a major scientific output of CAML and SCAR-MarBIN as well as being a significant legacy of CoML and the International Polar Year to fulfill the needs of biogeographic information for science, conservation, monitoring and sustainable management of the changing Southern Ocean. It will be of direct benefit to the Antarctic Treaty and associated bodies such as the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources.

+ Data

Search for Antarctic data in the Antarctic Master Directory.

The AMD is the central directory system containing all Antarctic data set descriptions gathered by national Antarctic data centres. For more information on Antarctic data management, visit the page of the SCAR Standing Committee on Antarctic Data Management.

+ Links

Relevant links will be added later.