Course Overview

The course provides an introduction to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS).

This includes best practices in marine biogeographic data management, data publication, data access, data analysis and data visualisation. With the numerous datasets being generated through various projects and some old data yet to be captured in the database, this training provides an opportunity to manage this wealth of scientific knowledge.

Course Aims and Objectives

  • Expand the OBIS network of collaborators
  • Improve marine biogeographic data quality
  • Increase awareness of international standards and best practices related to marine biogeographic data management
  • Increase the amount of open access data published through OBIS and its OBIS nodes
  • Increase the use of data from OBIS for research, species conservation and area-based management applications

Learning Outcomes

  • Knowledge and understanding of OBIS structure, mission and objectives
  • Installation and management of IPT
  • Use of Darwin Core standards for species occurrence records, taxonomy, event/sample records and additional biological and environmental parameters.
  • Data quality control tools (OBIS Quality Control: LifeWatch QC tools and Name Matching Strategy)
  • Getting data and metadata in OBIS, AfrOBIS and AfReMAS: procedures, formats, upload data and metadata via AfrOBIS IPT
  • Use of OBIS data access (SQL, web service, API/R).
  • Getting data and metadata from OBIS and WoRMS (web portal, web services, GIS)
  • Data visualisation tools (ArGIS online, …)

Target Audience

  • Marine data managers working with marine biodiversity data
  • Staff of NODCs or ADUs/OBIS nodes working with marine biodiversity data
  • Principle Investigators of major marine biodiversity projects
  • National marine biodiversity focal points
  • Priority will be given to participants that can demonstrate to hold important data contributions to OBIS, in addition to those from gap areas in OBIS (e.g. deep sea, S-E Asia, Middle East, Africa, Arctic).

NOTE: priority will be given to participants originating from Eastern Africa and neighbouring Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Applications from women are encouraged.

Course Pre-requisites:

  • Candidates should be from institutions that contribute, or hold and plan to contribute, marine biogeographic data to OBIS
  • Candidates should bring marine biogeographic datasets for the hands-on exercises
  • Need to bring own laptop
  • Working knowledge of English

 A Certificate of Participation will be issued to all successful students.

Application process:

Please read the information on how to apply available on , and fill the online application form no later than 22 September 2017.

Before starting filling the online application form, please make sure to have available the following:

  • a motivation statement (text file) of maximum 300 words;
  • scan of the bio page of your passport; in case you are a national of the host country a valid identification/citizen card can be used instead of the passport;
  • scan of the endorsement letter (in case you are asking for funding)
  • link to your profile on OceanExpert (; if you don't have one make sure you create one in advance.

The deadline to submit the application closes 22 September 2017. Do not leave for the last minute since the system will close automatically. In case you have any questions please contact the organisers well in advance: given time differences you may not get a reply to your questions immediately.

Both full- and co-sponsoring are available for a limited number of participants.

The selection of participants who will be sponsored will take into consideration:

  • Applicant country’s development status (preference will be given to LIFDCs)
  • Endorsement of the candidate’s application by his/her employer and any co-sponsoring
  • Expected impact of the training for the applicants’ institution
  • Possibility of any co-sponsorship (co-sponsorship is an asset for selection)

 In case of questions contact:

  • OTGA Mombasa Regional Training Centre Coordinator: Harrison Ong’anda (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • OTGA Coordinator: Claudia Delgado (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)