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Two decades of macrofauna data from hydrothermal vents on the East Pacific Rise available in OBIS and GBIF

We are pleased to announce the availability of two decades of macrofauna data from colonization surfaces deployed at the East Pacific Rise 9 50 N hydrothermal vent field. Species and morphogroups were matched to equal or lowest level taxon in the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). We provide 3536 machine-readable counts of taxon-resolved macrofauna in Phyla including Annelida, Mollusca, Arthropoda, and more. These data are available in multiple formats:

  • Original tables: Mullineaux, L. (2020) Counts of colonists collected from colonization plates at the East Pacific Rise (EPR) deep-sea vents (1998-2017). Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO). (Version 2) Version Date 2020-08-31.
  • Darwin Core format (Event and Occurrence): Mullineaux L, Mills S, Beaulieu S (2021). Macrofauna collected on colonization surfaces at the East Pacific Rise 9 50 N hydrothermal vent field in 1998-2017. Version 1.1. United States Geological Survey. Sampling event dataset accessed via
  • Darwin Core format including the OBIS-ENV-DATA extension (Event, Occurrence, and eMoF):

These data were prepared as part of our lab group’s involvement in the InterRidge MACROCHESS Working Group, an international group of scientists compiling and analyzing a MACROecological database for species distributions across CHemosynthesis-based EcoSystemS. We contributed our data to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), but also to the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS) which allowed us to include some environmental data and add some more metadata useful to oceanographers. An important aspect of the data preparation was ensuring that the occurrences were machine-readable as occurring at a hydrothermal vent. We used the OBIS-ENV-DATA eMoF extension to encode the identifier for the term “hydrothermal vent” from the ENVironment Ontology (ENVO). One interesting data challenge that we encountered – but did not fully solve – was how to encode as machine-readable that these observations were located in the Area beyond the limits of national jurisdiction.

These data include “an unprecedented long-term (11-year) series of colonization data following a catastrophic 2006 seafloor eruption on the East Pacific Rise” that we analyzed in: Mullineaux L. S., Mills S. W., Le Bris N., Beaulieu S. E., Sievert S. M. and Dykman L. N. (2020) Prolonged recovery time after eruptive disturbance of a deep-sea hydrothermal vent community. Proc. R. Soc. B.,

We thank Abby Benson, OBIS-USA node manager, for help and guidance with data preparation and upload to OBIS and GBIF. Funding to standardize these data to Darwin Core was from NSF DEB-1558904 and NSF OCE-1829773.