Australian Zooplankton Biomass Database

85 years of quality-checked marine zooplankton biomass records from Australian waters

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We have collated almost 50,000 records of marine zooplankton biomass from around Australia, dating back to the 1930s. Zooplankton are the animal component of the plankton and are the primary link between phytoplankton and higher trophic levels. Biomass is the most common metric used to measure the entire zooplankton community. Data have been standardized and all available metadata included. To enable comparisons, this dataset includes a conversion of the biomass into carbon values using the standard units of µg Carbon per litre.

Zooplankton biomass sampling locations around Australia from 39 data sources

The Australian Zooplankton Biomass Database is focused on the meso- and macro-zooplankton component (i.e. larger than 0.2 mm in size) traditionally sampled by devices that filter the plankton from the water directly at sea: towed nets (e.g. bongo nets and ring nets) and towed samplers (e.g. Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR)). The dataset also includes estimated zooplankton biomass from optical devices such as the Optical Plankton Counter (OPC) and the Laser Optical Plankton Counter (LOPC).

The Australian Zooplankton Biomass Database follows on from a series of datasets collated for the Australian marine region led by CSIRO authors and using data from the Australian Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS) for zooplankton composition and abundance, phytoplankton composition and abundance and chlorophyll a, made freely available through the IMOS Australian Ocean Data Network (AODN) portal.

The Australian Zooplankton Biomass Database can be found on the AODN portal here:

The Australian Zooplankton Biomass Database will be valuable in many ways including: developing maps of zooplankton biomass; determining changes in zooplankton biomass over time and space; global change studies; and to initialise and assess biogeochemical and ecosystem models.

Our paper in Nature Scientific Data is available here:

[Compilation photo credits:  LOPC and OPC images copyright Jason Everett & Iain Suthers UNSW/UQ, remainder of images copyright CSIRO ]

Felicity McEnnulty

Research technician, CSIRO Oceans & Atmosphere

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