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South African Journal of Science

versión On-line ISSN 1996-7489
versión impresa ISSN 0038-2353

S. Afr. j. sci. vol.103 no.3-4 Pretoria mar./abr. 2007




AfrOBIS: A marine biogeographic information system for sub-Saharan Africa



M.L. GrundlinghI; U.B. von St AngeI; J.J. BoltonII; M. BurseyIII; L. CompagnoIV; R. CooperV; L. DrapeauV, VI; C.L. GriffithsVII; M. bel HassenVIII; D.G. HerbertIX; S. KirkmanV; D. OhlandIV; H.G. RobertsonIV; T. Trinder-SmithII; J. van der WesthuysenV; H.M. VerheyeV; W.CoetzerX; C.WilkeV

ICSIR, P.O. Box 320, Stellenbosch 7599, South Africa
IIBotany Department, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
IIIEast London Museum, P.O. Box 11021, Southernwood 5213, South Africa
IVIziko Museum, P.O. Box 61, Cape Town 8000, South Africa
IXNatal Museum, 237 Jabu Ndlovu Street, Pietermaritzburg 3201, South Africa
VMarine and Coastal Management, Private Bag, Rogge Bay, Cape Town 8012, South Africa
VIPresent address: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Paris, France
VIIDepartment of Marine Biology, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701
VIIINational Institute of Marine Sciences and Technologies, Tunisia
XSouth African Institute for Aquatic Biodiversity, Private Bag 1015, Grahamstown 6140, South Africa




AfrOBIS is one of 11 global nodes of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), a freely accessible network of databases collating marine data in support of the Census of Marine Life. Versatile graphic products, provided by OBIS, can be used to display the data. To date, AfrOBIS has loaded about 3.2 million records of more than 23 000 species located mainly in the seas around southern Africa. This forms part of the 13.2 million records of more than 80 000 species currently stored in OBIS. Scouting for South African data has been successful, whereas locating records in other African countries has been much less so.



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1. Grassle J.F. and Stocks K.I. (1999). A global ocean biogeographic information system (OBIS) for the Census of Marine Life. Oceanography 12(3), 12-14.         [ Links ]

2. Zhang Y. and Grassle J.F. (2003). A portal for the Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Oceanologica Acta 25, 193-197.         [ Links ]

3. Bisby F.A., Ruggiero M.A.,Wilson K.L.,Cachuela-Palacio M., Kimani S.W., Roskov Y.R., Soulier-Perkins A. and van Hertum J. (Eds) (2005). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2005 Annual Checklist. CD-ROM; Species 2000: Reading, U.K. Online:        [ Links ]



The first two authors are grateful for funding from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation via a contract between the CSIR and Rutgers University. The willingness of all authors’ organizations, especially Marine and Coastal Management (Cape Town), to contribute data is greatly appreciated. We thank the digitizers at Iziko Museum (Cape Town), the Bolus Herbarium (University of Cape Town) and the East London Museum (East London) for the preparation of valuable data sets.
* Author for correspondence.

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