The long-term goal of this project is to create and maintain a FishBase-like information system for all non-fish marine organisms, ca. 400,000 spp. Of these, marine organisms (about 240,000 spp) are the target of the current project phase. It will not provide yet another authority list of species, but rather, for each species included, make available the biological and ecological information necessary to conduct biodiversity and ecosystem studies, taking advantage of lists of species already available on paper and electronically, and using the scientific names as ‘hook’ to organize biodiversity information. Initiated in October 2005 in response to the need to cover organisms other than fishes, SeaLifeBase went online in late 2008.
This is a joint project of the Sea Around Us (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) and Quantitative Aquatics, Inc. (Q-quatics, Los Baños, Philippines), and is endorsed and monitored by the FishBase Consortium. It was built using the highly successful FishBase model, drawing on the over 20 years of FishBase experience. With a few changes, the adaptation of SeaLifeBase data was efficient, employing less programming and development time. It uses the taxonomic structure of the Catalogue of Life, which is itself enhanced by expert-reviewed taxonomic data of the World Register of Marine Species. These two global catalogues are the source of 56% of the nearly 129,934 scientific names of metazoan species in SeaLifeBase, including information necessary for the management of commercially important non-fish metazoans . Data on, for example, algae enhanced by taxonomic data from AlgaeBase, increased SeaLifeBase’s nominal species to over 105,000 (50% of which contain data on distribution, ecology and species specific life histories).
In 2010, SeaLifeBase started completing species assignments by ecosystem, with an obvious interest, i.e., the South China Sea, the large marine ecosystem that contains the Coral Triangle, a marine biodiversity hotspot. This was followed by a string of commissioned work that will provide information on the marine biodiversity of, e.g., Belize (for an advocacy campaign against drilling in their barrier reef), islands being considered as large marine protected areas, notably those by the Global Oceans Legacy (Pew Charitable Trusts), including the Kermadec, Pitcairn and Easter Islands, and some large marine ecosystems of special interest, including the Mediterrranean Sea and the Antarctic Ocean. In 2012, the database contained 24,100 common names for 22,128 species and key data extracted from 12,500 references contributed by 120 collaborators worldwide. It attracted a monthly average of 25,000 hits by 15,000 unique visitors. The ecosystem focus continues in 2013-present with more commissioned work on the Salish, Baltic and North Seas, some major Mediterranean Islands, the Western Indian Ocean and French Polynesia, Palau and New Caledonia and most recently, Australia and the Polar Seas. By the end of 2018, SeaLifeBase reached 1,626,629 visits with a monthly average of 25,000 unique users, the total hits for the whole of 2018 was over 49 million. The January 2019 version contains 66,629 species (59,800 with ecology information, 347,600 species records for 502 marine ecosystems, including 305 Marine Ecoregions of the World, 56,900 with reproduction, 12,800 with length information) with 55,700 common names, 20,150 food items, 700 diet, 9,200 abundance, 4,800 predator records, 4,000 growth records, 1,606 introduction and 13,171 pictures gathered from 36,100 references and with contributions from 300 collaborators, emulating the growth of FishBase during its early years.
SeaLifeBase Principal Investigator
UBC Fisheries Centre Director, November 2003 – October 2008 MSc (1974); PhS (1979); Habilitation (1985) in Fisheries Biology and Biological Oceanography (University of Kiel, Germany)
Born in France and raised in Switzerland, Daniel Pauly studied in Germany, where he acquired a doctorate in fisheries biology in 1979, from the University of Kiel. He did his first intercontinental travel in 1971 (from Germany to Ghana for field work related to his Masters) and has since experienced a multitude of countries, cultures, and modes of exploiting aquatic ecosystems in Africa, Asia, Oceania and the Americas. This perspective allowed him to develop tools for managing data-sparse fisheries, as prevailed for example in the Philippines, where Dr. Pauly worked through the 1980s and early 1990s.
In 1994, Dr. Pauly became a Professor at the University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre, and was its Director from 2003 to 2008. In 1999, Daniel Pauly founded, and since leads, a large research project devoted to identifying and quantifying global fisheries trends, funded by the Pew Charitable Trusts and called The Sea Around Us after Rachel Carson’s 1951 bestselling book. Daniel Pauly is also co-founder of FishBase.org, the online encyclopedia of more than 30,000 fish species, and he has helped develop the widely-used Ecopath modeling software. He is the author or co-author of more than 500 scientific and other articles, books and book chapters on fish, fisheries and related topics. Two of news books, reflecting his current interests were published in 2010: “Five Easy Pieces: Reporting on the Global Impact of Fisheries” and “Gasping Fish and Panting Squids: Oxygen, Temperature and the Growth of Water-Breathing Animals”.
Maria Lourdes D. Palomares
SeaLifeBase Project Coordinator
Senior Research Fellow, Sea Around Us
PhD, Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse, France (1991)
Maria Lourdes Palomares is the Sea Around Us Project Manager since June 2017. She is one of the creators of and is the lead of SeaLifeBase (since 2005), a biodiversity information system on the world’s marine organisms other than fish, which is patterned after FishBase (i.e., the fish biodiversity information system on the world’s fishes). Deng helps with moulding the scientific thrusts (e.g., in defining projects, and the work-flow associated in producing deliverables in a timely manner) of the Philippine NGO, Quantitative Aquatics, as its Science Director. She serves as Specialty Chief Editor of Frontiers in Marine Science’s section on Marine Fisheries, Aquaculture and Living Resources (since 2016). Originally from the Philippines, Deng obtained a PhD from the Ecole Nationale Supérieure Agronomique de Toulouse (France) in 1991 and worked with the FishBase Project at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (Manila, Philippines) for 10 years before joining the Sea Around Us team in 2001. She is the Science Director and a member of the Board of trustees of Q-quatics.
Sea Around Us
University of British Columbia (UBC)
Aquatic Ecosystems Research Laboratory (AERL)
2202 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC, Canada V6T 1Z4
T: +1(604)822 2731; F: +1(604)822 8934
MSc, Environmental Science and Management, University of the Philippines (2010)
Encodes key biological information on all non-fish species, with a focus on marine mammals, seabirds, and reptiles. Responsible for faunal projects, completing biodiversity data, i.e., Polar Seas, Australia, French Polynesia, Belize, etc., and other distribution related information. She updates the IUCN and CITES status of non-fish species and has worked with the Philippine IUCN Red List in updating marine mammal statuses. She is also involved in studies on marine mammal threats, behavior, and their conservation in the Philippines.
Encodes new species and other related key biological information. Responsible for validating and encoding taxonomic and nomenclatural information, as well as geographic distribution-related information for various non-fish species. She also works on the synchronization of SeaLifeBase and the World Register of Marine Species, with the help of Dr. Nicolas Bailly. She is currently working in a project which involves georeferencing marine invertebrate collections. She is involved in various projects such as CMSY and global fisheries catch reconstruction led by the Sea Around Us, database assembly and management under the Catalogue of Life project, and mapping/digitization of freshwater fishes and aquatic plants using GIS. She is a member of the Qq species identification team doing image analysis using BRUVS (Baited Remote Underwater Video System).
Vina Angelica Parducho
Primarily encodes and analyzes data on life history and population dynamics, with focus on the list of commercially important species provided by the Sea Around Us. She is also involved in studies on Philippine fisheries, and of quantitative biology of jellyfishes, nudibranchs and sea turtles.
Elizabeth Bato David
Responsible for AquaMaps of non-fish species, and encoding geographic distribution-related data for species relevant to the Sea Around Us. She is currently taking her MSc in Environmental Science, and is interested in pursuing GIS and modelling work for conservation.
Encodes ecology data, food items and diet information. His interests include systematics and sustainability, which he hopes to promote in the Philippines in the future.
Michael Angelo Yap
Responsible for all graphic-related work in SeaLifeBase, i.e., photos from collaborators, hand draws non-fish species, posters, logos, illustrations for presentations, etc., and encodes occurrence data from photographs. He worked in advertising for 10 years providing artworks and directing TV commercials for Shakey’s, Dunkin Donuts, among others. He now involves himself in artworks for the conservation of marine resources.
Biodiversity Informatics Scientist, Scientific Director Hellenic Centre for Marine Research
Ph.D. (Doctorat), Biodiversity Informatics (2004, M.Sc. (DESS), Computer Software Engineering (1990), M.Sc. (DEA), Marine Ecology (1985)
32 years experience in Biodiversity Informatics as Biodiversity Information System developer and manager. After a M.Sc. in Marine Ecology and some work on energy flow in deep sea environment, a M.Sc. in Computer Sciences. After a brief time in industrial informatics, joined the National Museum of Natural History in Paris (MNHN), 1992-2005, where both backgrounds were used to develop and manage databases on fishes. Starting late nineties, became the main focal point for Biodiversity Informatics in the museum being involved in many European projects as listed below. Achieved a PhD thesis on theoretical and organizational issues in Biodiversity Informatics. Involved in the creation of the FishBase Consortium meeting in year 2000 (chair for one year 2004-2005).
Joined the WorldFish Center between 2005 and 2014 to manage the FishBase Team in the Philippines and the FishBase Consortium work plan, but also the gathering of Global Species Databases for the Catalogue of Life. Officer in Charge of the WorldFish Center Philippines Outreach Office between May 2005 and December 2010 with about 30 staff.
In 2014, joined the LifeWatch Greece Team at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research (HCMR), Institute of Marine Biology, Biotechnology & Aquaculture (IMBBC). He is now the Taxonomy Coordinator for Q-quatics, a Philippine NGO running FishBase, SeaLifeBase and AquaMaps, created to support the assembly and dissemination of key data on living aquatic resources for the development of research tools in collaboration with national and international partners.
FishBase Consortium Principal Scientist
FishBase Project Leader from 1990 to 2000.
FishBase Coordinator since 2001.
Helmholtz-Center for Ocean Research (GEOMAR)
Duesternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
T: +49(431)600 4579; F: +49(431)600 1699
Mary Ann Bimbao
Q-quatics Executive Director
Quantitative Aquatics, Inc. (Q-quatics)
G. S. Khush Hall, IRRI, College-Los Baños, Laguna 4031 Philippines
T: +63(2)580 5659, +63(49)536 2701 to 05 ext. 2855;
F: +63(02)580 5699