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The scope of OBIS-USA data include all available marine species data from USA sources (programs, institutions, and people) and U.S. Waters, as well as data of special interest to USA researchers, for example from polar expeditions and other remote areas. The USGS OBIS-USA brings data together for USA waters and research programs, ensuring consistency, quality, and usability.

As part of the requirements set forth by the OBIS Steering Group, all scientific names must have a match within the World Register for Marine Species (WoRMS) in order to be included in OBIS. Scientific names that are unable to find a match in WoRMS can be matched to the Integrated Taxonomic Information System but will not be included in OBIS database.

OBIS requires eight terms from the Darwin Core standard:


OBIS-USA uses the OBIS-ENV-DATA version of the Darwin Core standard, wherever appropriate. For more information about OBIS-ENV-DATA see the Darwin Core Archive including OBIS-ENV-DATA page from OBIS. Also, the OBIS Manual provides more in depth information about contributing data to OBIS.

Data are accepted into OBIS-USA from the original developer or the current holder of the data. Contributors of data are associated with the original collection or survey and agree to serve data from their collections. Data made available through OBIS-USA are in the "Public Domain". This means they are owned and distributed by the USA public and in the public interest. Others may use these data, and may incorporate them into products for sale or cost recovery.

Authority and responsibility for original data reside with the source and data originator or current holder. The preparation of data requires conforming to the OBIS data schema. Additional metadata and documentation of the context of data are important as well. Work establishing a data source involves data and metadata preparation, data transfer, quality control, review, and incremental updates as new records are added by the contributor. Potential data contributors should contact OBIS-USA (