Global Trends in Marine Biodiversity from Unstructured Data

Alun Jones


Start Year: 2014, 1st cohort

Host University: The University of Sheffield

Department: Animal and Plant Sciences

Supervisors:  Dr Tom Webb; Dr Nick Isaac, CEH


Alun Jones

Academic profile

Education: MBiolSci Biology, 1st Class Hons, University of Sheffield, UK, 2010-2014

Skills and relevant qualifications: Data manipulation, analysis, visualisation, plotting, mapping, R, SQL
Developing skills in: Occupancy modelling, Bayesian data analysis

ACCE PhD Research topic

Global Trends in Marine Biodiversity from Unstructured Data

Marine biodiversity faces many threats, including climate change, overfishing, and habitat destruction. Robust global indicators of the state of marine systems are limited to those vertebrates and those few invertebrates that have been subject to long-term monitoring programmes. The extent to which these trends reflect general patterns across all taxa is unknown. My project utilises the c. 41.9 million records of species occurrence stored in the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS, to derive trends in marine biodiversity through time. This will initially be performed for individual taxa and areas; and ultimately scaled up across taxa and regions to produce a first marine equivalent of the Living Planet Index. OBIS is an amalgamation of many separate datasets, all collected for different purposes, so an important component of this project is to adapt methods used to deal with unstructured data in other systems to unlock the potential of marine biological big data.