Ecoinformatics, Biogeography, and the Species Database of the U.S. National Coastal Assessment
Stephen S. Hale
Atlantic Ecology Division, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Office of Research and Development, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Narragansett, Rhode Island
The USEPA’s National Coastal Assessment (NCA), which has collected benthic macroinvertebrates and demersal fishes from thousands of stations around the U.S. coasts since 1990, is taking advantage of recent developments in ecoinformatics to manage, model, and analyze the species data. Rapid improvements in information technology and strong interest in biodiversity and sustainable ecosystems are driving an exciting phase of development for global species databases. Emerging data standards and protocols enable these data to be shared in ways that have happened before only with difficulty. NCA application of ecoinformatics leads to new possibilities for integrating the hundreds of thousands of NCA species records with other databases to address broad-scale and long-term questions such as environmental impacts, global climate change, and species invasions.
Keywords: species databases, ecoinformatics, biogeography, estuaries, coastal systems, benthic communities, demersal fish