Microbial Ocean Atlas

Integrating highly specialised genomic data with physical ocean data to make molecular microbial data accessible to researchers
Sand and beach
Who will benefit
Researchers, research organisations, and state and federal government agencies

The Challenge

The project set out to 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 4 elements:

  • project scope – identifying the development pathways for incorporating or integrating the microbial data seamlessly into a discovery and visualisation framework being developed for IMOS
  • data harmonisation – delivering harmonised datasets ready for use
  • visualisation – delivering visualisations of the harmonised data prepared, which 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 – ensuring that the data asset is visible, useful and responds to the needs of a broad range of researchers and end-users.

The Outcomes

Access the Microbial Ocean Atlas.

Who Will Benefit

Researchers, research organisations and state and federal 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

  • Bioplatforms Australia
  • Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)

Contact the ARDC

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November 2020 to October 2022

Current Phase


ARDC Co-investment


Project lead

Integrated Marine Observing System (IMOS)