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Organization of marine phenology data in support of planning and conservation in ocean and coastal ecosystems

TitleOrganization of marine phenology data in support of planning and conservation in ocean and coastal ecosystems
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2014
AuthorsThomas, KA, Fornwall, MD, Weltzin, JF, Griffis, RB
JournalEcological Informatics
Page range169–176

Among the many effects of climate change is its influence on the phenology of biota. In marine and coastal
ecosystems, phenological shifts have been documented for multiple life forms; however, biological data related
to marine species' phenology remain difficult to access and is under-used. We conducted an assessment of
potential sources of biological data for marine species and their availability for use in phenological analyses
and assessments. Our evaluations showed that data potentially related to understanding marine species' phenology
are available through online resources of governmental, academic, and non-governmental organizations, but
appropriate datasets are often difficult to discover and access, presenting opportunities for scientific infrastructure
improvement. The developing Federal Marine Data Architecture when fully implemented will improve
data flow and standardization for marine data within major federal repositories and provide an archival repository
for collaborating academic and public data contributors. Another opportunity, largely untapped, is the engagement
of citizen scientists in standardized collection of marine phenology data and contribution of these
data to established data flows. Use of metadata with marine phenology related keywords could improve discovery
and access to appropriate datasets. When data originators choose to self-publish, publication of research
datasets with a digital object identifier, linked to metadata, will also improve subsequent discovery and access.
Phenological changes in the marine environment will affect human economics, food systems, and recreation.
No one source of data will be sufficient to understand these changes. The collective attention of marine data collectors
is needed—whether with an agency, an educational institution, or a citizen scientist group—toward
adopting the data management processes and standards needed to ensure availability of sufficient and useable
marine data to understand marine phenology.