Microbial Ocean Atlas

Understanding what drives the microbial processes that sustain the planet.
Sand and beach
Who will benefit
Researchers, research organisations, and state and commonwealth government agencies

The Challenge

The project will drive the integration of large DNA sequencing datasets that describe the composition and function of Australian marine microbial assemblages, with oceanographic datasets that describe the form and dynamics of Australian ocean ecosystems.

Integrating these very different data types will accelerate our understanding of how changing environmental conditions drive the microbial processes that sustain the planet, while giving non-microbial researchers direct access to key microbial insights that will enhance modelling of ecological and biogeochemical processes.

The Response

The Microbial Ocean Atlas project involves four elements.

Project scope – Identify the development pathways for incorporating or integrating the microbial data seamlessly into a discovery and visualisation framework being developed for IMOS.

Data harmonisation – Deliver harmonised datasets ready for use.

Visualisation – Deliver visualisations of the harmonised data prepared. This will allow users to observe and explore microbial and oceanographic data seamlessly on a map or in the context of a time series and pre-select specific data sets for download and further analyses when required.

Sustainability and longevity – Ensure that the data asset is visible, useful and responds to the needs of a broad range of researchers and end-users.

Who Will Benefit

Researchers, research organisations and state and commonwealth government agencies will benefit from the project’s core features:

  • transdisciplinary research – the new data asset will enable researchers from the microbial and oceanography disciplines to answer more research questions
  • meeting community needs – the output dataset will exploit a wealth of existing information to develop data resources and tools that are compatible with ideas and needs from the community, including human health and wellbeing, management of protected/high value ecologies, and safeguarding Australian aquaculture and fisheries.

The Partners

Our partners are:

  • Bioplatforms Australia
  • Integrated Marine Observing System.

Target Outcomes

This project will enable data integration that does not currently exist anywhere else in the world and will provide great advantages to the Australian research community.

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November 2020 to October 2022

Current Phase

In progress

ARDC Co-investment


Project lead

Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)