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Spatio-Temporal Gap Analysis of OBIS-SEAMAP Project Data: Assessment and Way Forward

October 7, 2010

PLoS ONE 5(9): e12990, 2010

Kot CY, Fujioka E, Hazen LJ, Best BD, Read AJ

“The OBIS-SEAMAP project has acquired and served high-quality marine mammal, seabird, and sea turtle data to the public since its inception in 2002. As data accumulated, spatial and temporal biases resulted and a comprehensive gap analysis was needed in order to assess coverage to direct data acquisition for the OBIS-SEAMAP project and for taxa researchers should true gaps in knowledge exist. All datasets published on OBIS-SEAMAP up to February 2009 were summarized spatially and temporally. Seabirds comprised the greatest number of records, compared to the other two taxa, and most records were from shipboard surveys, compared to the other three platforms. Many of the point observations and polyline tracklines were located in northern and central Atlantic and the northeastern and central-eastern Pacific. The Southern Hemisphere generally had the lowest representation of data, with the least number of records in the southern Atlantic and western Pacific regions. Temporally, records of observations for all taxa were the lowest in fall although the number of animals sighted was lowest in the winter. Oceanographic coverage of observations varied by platform for each taxa, which showed that using two or more platforms represented habitat ranges better than using only one alone. Accessible and published datasets not already incorporated do exist within spatial and temporal gaps identified. Other related open-source data portals also contain data that fill gaps, emphasizing the importance of dedicated data exchange. Temporal and spatial gaps were mostly a result of data acquisition effort, development of regional partnerships and collaborations, and ease of field data collection. Future directions should include fostering partnerships with researchers in the Southern Hemisphere while targeting datasets containing species with limited representation. These results can facilitate prioritizing datasets needed to be represented and for planning research for true gaps in space and time.”

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