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The global plankton database.

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C oastal &
O ceanic
P lankton
E cology,
P roduction &
O bservation
D atabase
about COPEPOD box
the plankton database
about COPEPODITE box
time series and tools
about NAUPLIUS box
spatial fields and explorers
about COPEPEDIA box
taxonomic data and info
COPEPOD's global plankton database component provides plankton and ecosystem researchers with an integrated data set of quality-reviewed, globally distributed plankton abundance, biomass and composition data.   Its visual, interactive interface is designed to help the user see exactly what data are currently available and then download them in a variety of usable formats and compilations.   In addition to data distribution maps, COPEPOD offers a variety of text and graphical content summaries and searching options.

One of the biggest problems found in other large database efforts is losing the original identity of the incoming data, specifically acknowledging the collecting scientists.   (Just because it becomes part of a global database, an investigator's expertise and months of hard work should not just become a numeric identifier in a 20 page code table buried in the technical documentation somewhere.)   COPEPOD makes every effort to include investigator, institution, and project credit for all data present, and makes this information an integral part of the interface organization and searching systems.

Unfortunately some of the older original data formats did not include this information, or it was lost by other data compilating parties.   If you are familiar with the project, institution, or investigators of a COPEPOD data summary that is missing this information, please let us know and we will add it.   Likewise, if you have or are aware of any other available plankton data, please let us know.   The Hall of Fame features investigators and contributors.  

Making data accessible and usable ...

To study plankton abundance or biomass data over an entire oceanic basin, or the world, an investigator would first need to compile data from tens or even hundreds of different sampling cruises, institutes, and projects.  Many of these data, especially the historical data, may be in a non-digital format (e.g., paper cruise reports and data tables), scattered among numerous institutions and libraries across the globe.  If the manuscripts can even be obtained by the investigator, they would then need to be digitized to be accessible.  With more recently sampled plankton data, the data may be available on CD-ROM and/or project web sites.  However, due to the complex and descriptive nature of plankton data, these data are often stored in a multitude of different formats and layouts.  That means that after obtaining all of the data, the investigator would then be faced with tens to hundreds of different data formats which must be reformatted and combined into a single database before comparisons and analysis can even begin!

The purpose of COPEPOD is to provide investigators with an integrated data set of quality-controlled, globally distributed plankton biomass and abundance data, along with any collocated physical, chemical, and biological oceanographic variables, in a common electronic format with supporting documentation and access software.  By doing this, COPEPOD allows the investigator to spend their time analyzing the data rather than compiling it.

COPEPOD places special emphasis on preserving adequate metadata (information about the collecting and processing methods) to ensure that the data in this database are useful both now and in the future.

COPEPOD first went online on in August of 2004, and has continued to develop and expand in content and capabilities thanks to ongoing support from NOAA, NMFS, and the user community.   Full database content and method summaries are released roughly every few years (e.g. COPEPOD-2014, COPEPOD-2010, COPEPOD-2007, COPEPOD-2005), with new data content added each month.   Global mean fields of zooplankton biomass are also available ( "Plankton Biomass Fields" ).


screen capture of the COPEPOD search page
Click on the image above to go to COPEPOD's search page.

screen capture of a COPEPOD data web packet

screen capture of a COPEPOD data web packet
Quick-Links to key COPEPOD elements: