SeaLifeBase is a joint project of the Sea Around Us (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) and The FishBase Information and Research Group, Inc (FIN, Los Baños, Philippines), and is endorsed and monitored by the FishBase Consortium. Initiated in October 2005 in response to the need to cover organisms other than fishes, SeaLifeBase went online in late 2008. 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 2013-2015 with more commissioned work on the Salish, Baltic and North Seas, some major Mediterranean Islands, the Western Indian Ocean, French Polynesia, Palau and New Caledonia. By the end of 2014, SeaLifeBase reached 1,203,307 hits by a monthly average of 4,220 unique users. The March 2015 version contains 65,400 species (56,427 with ecology information, 46,025 for 170 marine ecosystems, 4,350 with reproduction, 1,908 with morphology) described by 29,200 common names, 14,485 food items, 505 diet, 9,090 abundance, 4,523 predator records, 1,896 growth records, 1,604 introduction and 12,100 pictures gathered from 20,900 references and 260 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 ‘Deng’ Palomares is a Senior Research Associate with the Sea Around Us in charge of the various databases collated by its members and most importantly of the database on the world’s marine fisheries catches. Deng represents the Sea Around Us at the FishBase Consortium, of which she has been elected as Chair in 2006 and again in 2015. She was appointed by the Board of the FishBase Information and Research Group as Associate Scientific Director in September 2012, largely due to her role as manager of the SeaLifeBase team. Originally from the Philippines, Deng obtained her Ph.D. 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 in 2001.
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 marine mammals, seabirds, reptiles, nudibranchs, tunicates and responsible for faunal checklists and other geographic distribution-related information. She is also involved in studies on marine mammal threats, behaviour and their conservation in the Philippines.
Encodes key biological information for cnidarians and molluscs and responsible for validating and encoding taxonomic and nomenclatural information, as well as global abundance and introductions information of various species. She is also involved in studies on biofouling and macrobenthic communities specifically on marine non-indigenous species.
Vina Angelica Parducho
Primarily encodes and analyzes data on life history and population dynamics, with focus on commercially important species figuring in the Sea Around Us databases. She is also involved in studies on Philippine fisheries, and on quantitative biology of jellyfishes, nudibranchs and sea turtles.
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. She also regularly contributes to weekly SeaLifeBase blog posts. Her interests include sea turtles and mangroves. In the future, she would like to be involved in marine life conservation and become a part of expeditions.
MSc, Zoology, University of the Philippines (2014)
Encodes common names and language related-encoding in SeaLifeBase. Responsible for the SeaLifeBase social media pages, and helps out with other encoding tasks as needed. She finished her Master’s degree in Zoology in 2014. Her research interests are parasitology and ecology of aquatic ecosystems.
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. Since 2011, acting as the Scientific Director for FIN (FishBase Research and Information Group, Inc.), a Philippine NGO running FishBase, SeaLifeBase, AquaMaps, and participating to Catalogue of Life with about 25 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 Scientific Director, and in charge of the taxonomic and species distribution information.
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
FIN Executive Director
FishBase Information and Research Group, Inc. (FIN)
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