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You can download a PDF of the full
NMFS-F/SPO-73 (aka "COPEPOD-2005") here.


The Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production & Observation Database (COPEPOD) is an online, global coverage plankton database. Designed by the former lead-developer of the World Ocean Database Plankton (1998-2004), this new plankton database effort presents significant amounts of additional data content along with a renewed focus on providing better data access, integrated products, and acknowledgment of the original plankton investigator(s). This document presents the data sources and methods used in this new database and summarizes its contents as of the December 2005 monthly update. This document also presents a new methodology for building global zooplankton biomass fields, including improved techniques for combining data from different sampling gear and measurement methods. The results of this new methodology are compared to the World Ocean Database 2001, finding that previous work had over-estimated its zooplankton carbon mass by up to four times.


The World Ocean Database Plankton (O達rien et al., 2002a) was an attempt to build a plankton database by adding plankton tow data to an existing bottle and temperature database. While this effort was successful at some levels, the resulting system was not friendly to the end user or the original data provider. A database user痴 access and use of the data were challenged by the infrequency of database updates and the complex, code-based export format that required significant programming to extract and decode the data. For the data provider, any acknowledgement of their months of hard work and authorship was reduced to a simple numeric code, or often completely absent.

In 2004, a new global plankton database effort began, incorporating over ten years of plankton data management experience and user feedback into designing and building a new online data system designed specifically for plankton data. The Coastal & Oceanic Plankton Ecology, Production & Observation Database (COPEPOD) contains the entire reprocessed plankton content of O達rien et al. (2002a), plus significant amounts of new plankton data. COPEPOD also represents a completely new approach to providing data access and investigator acknowledgement in an online database. This new approach to data presentation and management focuses on the individual data sets, highlighting each with a full summary of the exact content, sampling methods, and investigators associated with those data. Data compilations and products, based on these data sets, allow the user to examine global or regional features such as zooplankton biomass, abundance and other ecosystem variables. Finally, COPEPOD features monthly releases of additional plankton data, via a searchable online web interface, and offers these data in a variety of user-friendly, application-tailored formats.

This NMFS Technical Memorandum, COPEPOD-2005, summarizes the data processing, quality control, and content of the COPEPOD plankton database as of December 2005. COPEPOD-2005 also presents a correction and replacement to the one-degree latitude-longitude mean zooplankton biomass fields of the World Ocean Atlas 2001 (O達rien et al. 2002b). Since the creation of those initial biomass fields, significant new biomass data and refined analysis techniques have been incorporated to greatly improve the quality and coverage of this previous work (Figure 1).

Figure 01:  Comparison of the 2001 and 2005 databases
Figure 1:   Comparison of zooplankton biomass coverage in World Ocean Database 2001 (O達rien et al. 2002)
and COPEPOD-2005 (O達rien 2005).

The entire COPEPOD-2005 publication is available for download here ...