The Colombian system of marine biodiversity “Sistema de Información de Biodiversidad Marina” (SIBM) of the Museo de Historia Natural Marina de Colombia (MHNMC) at the Instituto de Investigaciones Marinas y Costeras (INVEMAR), is a key tool at the scientific, technical and public level to access information on the marine and coastal Colombian biodiversity. It provides online information on nearly 14,000 catalogued lots of more than 2,000 species preserved at the MHNMC museum and more than 15,000 bibliographic references. The INVEMAR, made an agreement with CoML-Caribbean to incorporate the SIBM database into OBIS. During 2006-2007, the tasks carried out within this agreement were to (1) georeference the collections of fishes, molluscs, echinoderms and cnidarians of the MHNMC, (2) establish and generate the software filters required to select the biological records that will be made available to the OBIS users, using a client server connected to INVEMAR, and (3) develop the necessary software to integrate the SIBM system to the OBIS network in consultation with user groups.
The data included now in OBIS has a temporal coverage between 1956 and 2007, which represents about 2,350 species and 16,661 distributional records for fishes, molluscs, echinoderms and cnidarians. The habitat coverage includes seashores (littoral), sublittoral seabed, mangroves, seagrasses, coral reefs, azooxanthellate coral communities and continental margin soft bottoms. A second phase of the project between the SIBM and OBIS (in course) will include distributional records for macroalgae, sponges and crustaceans. This system constitutes a model of a useful Caribbean database, accessible on-line and integrated to OBIS.
The biodiversity databases created at the Instituto de Biología are contained at the Unidad de Informática para la Biodiversidad (UNIBIO) of the Instituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico (UNAM). This institute has also agreed to coordinate efforts to incorporate its data into OBIS in the short term.
MORROCOY AGENDA (Venezuela)
Other data soon to be loaded into OBIS is the collection of the Agenda Morrocoy, an inter-institutional, multidisciplinary project carried out between 2000-2003, and deposited at the Museo de Ciencias Naturales, Universidad Simón Bolívar (USB) in Venezuela. This database will be organized in the OBIS spreadsheets and incorporated to the system through one of the South American OBIS sub-nodes (Brazil).
Besides continuing to strengthen the link between the SIBM, UNAM, USB and OBIS, the CoML-Caribbean hopes to identify more biodiversity databases in the Caribbean that could be converted into digital format, including GIS specifications, and improve in this way the regional and global access to the data.