Informing global intergovernmental efforts to sustainably manage and conserve biodiversity

Funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation, and the Belgian Federal Government.
The Global Ocean Biodiversity Initiative (GOBI) is an international partnership advancing the scientific basis for conserving biological diversity in the deep seas and open oceans. It aims to help countries, as well as regional and global organisations, to use and develop data, tools, and methodologies to identify ecologically significant areas in the oceans, with an initial focus on areas beyond national jurisdiction.

This initiative began in late 2008 as a collaboration between the German Federal Agency for Nature Conservation (BfN), IUCN, UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, Census of Marine Life, Ocean Biogeographic Information System and the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab of Duke University. The initiative continues to seek additional collaborators to help bring the best science and data to bear on the identification of ecologically significant areas beyond national jurisdiction. GOBI is facilitated by IUCN with core support from BfN.

Mean frequency of sea surface temperature (SST) fronts off the Pacific coast of Central America, 1985-2005, detected by applying Cayula and Cornillon’s SIED algorithm to 15,340 twice-daily SST images from the NOAA NODC 4 km AVHRR Pathfinder

The work under this initiative builds on the scientific criteria adopted by the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) in 2008 to identify ecologically or biologically significant areas (EBSAs) in the global marine realm. It ultimately aims to help countries meet the goals adopted under the Convention on Biological Diversity and at the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development. These global goals relate to reducing the rate of biodiversity loss, applying ecosystem approaches, and establishing representative marine protected area networks by 2012.

Research Associate


Ben joined MGEL in 2007 and plays a key role in many ongoing projects including OBIS-SEAMAP, the Marine Ecosystem Services Project and work with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity. With Pat Halpin and Jesse Cleary, he helped create the Census of Marine Life “Map of Ocean Life”, published by National Geographic.

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