About The NBI
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science (NCCOS) conduct a wide variety of
coastal environmental monitoring and research studies that generate invaluable taxonomic
reference materials and corresponding data sets on the biodiversity and abundances
of marine benthic species. The goal of the National Benthic Inventory (NBI) is to
capture this information and make it available as a readily accessible resource
to support the needs of other related programs dealing with important coastal management,
research, and educational initiatives.
NBI consists of a dynamic quantitative database on benthic species distributions
and a corresponding taxonomic voucher collection of preserved benthic specimens
obtained from studies conducted by
NOAA and partnering institutions in estuarine and other coastal-ocean
areas around the country.
The quantitative database provides information on benthic species abundances by species
and location, thus providing a basis for addressing important coastal and marine
spatial planning management and research questions, such as "what are the incidence
and patterns of occurrence of a particular species of interest," or "what are the
overall composition and diversity of species assemblages within any particular region
The NBI is also a data source for the
Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), a web-based provider of world-wide
geo-referenced data on marine species.
OBIS includes information on all types of marine species (plants, algae,
protozoans, invertebrates, and vertebrates) from various parts of the world. The
OBIS link provides an
opportunity for the NBI, in serving
as a source of biological observations, to become an integral component of a larger
integrative ocean observing system with access to a broad range of species and geographic
regions. Users of OBIS
include scientists, marine resource managers and policy makers, educators, students,
and the public.
The companion taxonomic reference collection consists of representative specimens
from studies contained in the NBI
catalogued by species, geographic region, and investigation. The identified specimens
comprising the collection are used routinely as a research tool for processing new
benthic samples and for continuous verification of species identifications in various
coastal assessment studies. The collection also serves as a source of material to
capture in digitized photographs for publications, educational outreach, species
calibrations and other collaborative interactions with related programs involving
marine benthic taxonomy. Specimens from the collection are available for loan to
research and educational institutions for the use of the resident research staff.
Both the NBI and the reference collection
are maintained by the Coastal Ecology Program in the Protected Areas and Resources
Branch at NCCOS's
Center for Coastal Environmental Health and Biomolecular Research (CCEHBR)
in Charleston, SC.