Marine Data News Issue 41
April 2019
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In this issue of Marine Data News...
Long-term surveillance and monitoring at Skomer Marine Conservation Zone 

LEFT: Bispira volunticornis – A marine polychaete worm with beautiful feeding appendages
RIGHT: Jewel anemones (Coryonactis viridis) amongst hydroid and bryozoan turf

Natural Resources Wales have a full-time site-based team which manage the Marine Conservation Zone (MCZ) and oversee an extensive annual monitoring programme. Sea fans (Eunicella verrucosa) have been individually tracked since the 1980’s, the seagrass bed (Zostera marina) has been surveyed since 1982, sediment infauna community data goes back to 1993 as does data for sponge communities.

Skomer MCZ can boast over 130 species of sponge, 79 species of nudibranch and over 1200 species recorded in the sediment infauna monitoring. There are monitoring projects for everything from intertidal lichens through to breeding Grey seals.

ABOVE: Okenia elegans - one of the 79 species of nudibranch recorded at Skomer MCZ.

All the metadata for the monitoring projects can be found on the MEDIN Portal 

Species records for Skomer are held in the NBN Atlas for Wales

The UK Directory of Marine Observing Systems (UKDMOS) will also allow you to view the sample points and the associated metadata:

Search for 'NRW Skomer Marine Nature Reserve Monitoring' in the Search box, it will display the Monitoring locations on a map and if you click on the title you will see the metadata about the programme.

LEFT: Skomer MCZ Diver ascending from photo-monitoring dive.

The best place to go for a full overview of what happens above and beneath the waves around Skomer is to download the Skomer MCZ Project Status Report – number 251!

At the same location you can also find reports on Grey Seals, Nudibranchs, Scallops (pectin maximus) and Project Status Reports from previous years.

There is a wealth of information to search through and soon there will be new reports on the Seagrass bed, the latest 2018 Nudibranch survey and the 2018 Grey Seal breeding census.

It is not just biological data that is collected from the MCZ – The Skomer Annual reports (also available from the link above) detail data collected on recreational activities, weather and management incidents.

A lot of the data is summarised in the reports, if you require more detailed data please contact enquiries and specify what dataset you are interested in.

For a tiny area of 13.2km2 off the Pembrokeshire coast the Skomer MCZ holds a wealth of information going back decades on marine biodiversity, climate change and marine management of protected sites. Please dive in and get in touch if you would like to get involved. We actively support academic research and we run citizen science events to help with the bigger monitoring projects.

BELOW LEFT: Angler fish (Lophius piscatorius)    BELOW RIGHT: Sponge spider crab (Inachus sp)

Can you send reliable environmental data from anywhere to anyone? 

The short answer is… yes! Essentially, what we are talking about is data transmission, otherwise known as ‘telemetry’.  Often the unsung hero of environmental (or met-ocean) monitoring systems, data transmission is the most important part of any system. Why? Think of it like a mobile phone; if your phone, even if it’s the latest, most expensive model, was unable to send or receive data, then it is rendered almost useless. As a consumer we expect our phones to send and receive data (calls, emails, texts etc.) reliably, consistently, in real-time and in the right format (i.e. texts in Latin are no good if you don’t speak Latin!).

Environmental monitoring systems are much the same. No matter how good your sensors (tide gauges, met stations, wave sensors etc.) or receivers (vessel traffic service systems, portable pilot units, smart phones etc.) are, if you can’t access the data that your sensors produce, the system is hugely compromised. As ships get bigger, ports get busier and the margins for error get smaller, data telemetry has never been more important.

Why does OceanWise care?

As experts in marine data, OceanWise work with over 70 % of the UK’s major ports specialising in delivering environmental monitoring systems - from design, installation, integration to ongoing support and maintenance. Reliable and up-to-data environmental monitoring data are critical to most, if not all, maritime operations. Many operators often find that whilst the scope and quality of the data are satisfactory, the telemetry, management and display is often poorly implemented or completely over looked.

OceanWise is passionate about streamlining and modernising how organisations consider and manage their environmental data and believe that a data centric approach brings major benefits that will ultimately deliver competitive advantage.

OceanWise has proven that with the right telemetry at the heart of your environmental monitoring system, accurate, timely, reliable data transmission IS possible from anywhere to anyone.

The ip.buffer story

In 2012 Mark Jonas, Technical Director at OceanWise, realised that there was no telemetry unit on the market that he felt was good enough for the complex requirements of the marine environment. He set about trying to find one that might be adapted. His quest led him to telecommunications experts Scannex who were keen to work together with OceanWise to design and develop a ‘modem’ using our combined knowledge, experience and ambition. The ip.buffer was born - a ‘smart telemetry’ unit specifically designed and manufactured for the marine industry.

Since its launch, the ip.buffer has been deployed all over the world and has surpassed storage, recovery and transmission expectations time and time again. Mike Osborne, Managing Director of OceanWise comments “We couldn’t be happier with the ip.buffer and are not aware of any other modem being able to perform to this standard”.  

OceanWise believe that it is time that data transmission, this little mentioned but essential component, was brought to the forefront.

Workshop on biodiversity data flows
Data experts from UK organisations actively involved with the Healthy & Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group (HBDSEG) met in London to share knowledge and experience of different publication mechanisms and infrastructure for managing marine biological data. The aim was to make clear the current landscape and understand synergies within HBDSEG organisations. 

The workshop was organised by DASSH - the MEDIN Data Archive Centre for marine species and habitats data and funded by the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and MEDIN. DASSH aims to safeguard marine benthic survey data and to make data available as a national information resource. 

Throughout the day there were presentations of biological data flows from the Centre for Environment, Fisheries, and Aquaculture Sceince (Cefas), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC), the Environment Agency, the Marine Biological Assocation (MBA), Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI), Association of Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authorities (IFCA), Natural England and Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Topics of discussion involved the United Kingdom Directory of Marine Observing Systems (UKDMOS), the Marine Recorder, and Unicorn. 

Recommendations from the workshop will be reported in the next Marine Data News. 
MEDIN's 3rd hack day
The Marine Environmental Data and Information network (MEDIN) hosted its 3rd Hackathon on the 7th March. The hack day was an opportunity for developers, data experts and scientists to get hands-on with open, marine environmental datasets and information. This event focused on the UK Directory of Marine Observing Systems (UKDMOS), which is the most comprehensive catalogue of monitoring  activities around the UK. The aim of the day was to find ways to deliver new tools, visualisations, services and products. 
Graeme Duncan from JNCC created a heat map showing the increase and intensity of marine observing systems across the UK since 1800's to present.
The attendees had a range of skills and backgrounds and after some initial brainstorming split into three groups.

The first group looked at how information in UKDMOS could be used to understand where monitoring efficiencies might arise i.e. are there monitoring programmes that could share platforms (e.g. boats, buoys etc) and how monitoring has changed over time. The second group looked at identifying monitoring information not currently captured in UKDMOS. This group compared the location of monitoring in UKDMOS with the location of aggregate extraction sites from the EMODnet Human Activities portal. The third group looked at ways to easily communicate the vast amount of information contained in UKDMOS (e.g. word clouds and infographics).
Word clouds were created to display the occurance of platforms used and legislative drivers across the UKDMOS database. The platform word cloud (above) clearly shows that beach and intertidal zones around the UK are being monitored most frequently. Followed closely by research and fishing vessels, humans and divers. 

The legislative drivers word cloud (below) shows that the EU Habitats Directive is the most common policy driver for marine monitoring in the UK. Other top legislative drivers include EU Common Fisheries Policy, EC Birds Directive and the OSPAR Convention. 
The UKDMOS Hackathon 2019 team in London, featuring DAERA from Northern Ireland, DASSH, MEDIN, British Oceanographic Data Cetre (BODC), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and the Marine Biological Association (MBA). 
International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange  
The 25th session of the International Oceanographic Data and information Exchange (IODE) was held in Tokyo, Japan in February, 2019.  IODE is a body of the International Oceanographic Committee (IOC) and United Nations (UN), and this meeting saw the British Oceanographic Data Centre (BODC) re-accredited as an IODE National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC). 

Approximately 150 delegates attended the meeting to discuss the status of the IODE network, work with the Joint Technical Commission for Oceanography and Marine Meteorology (JCOMM), the future of IODE and the Ocean Data and Information System (ODIS).
BODC were re-accredited as an IODE National Oceanographic Data Centre (NODC). Cyndy Chandler (IODE co-chair), Graham Allen (Head of BODC), Yutaka Michida (IODE co-chair), Peter Pissierssens (Head, Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) Project Office for IODE). 

Currently, ODIS is a catalogue of  resources (including MEDIN) created by IODE in response to an earlier IODE decision;

'to construct a universal information system and data portal, to be known initially as the IOC Ocean Data and Information System (ODIS), based on the Ocean Data and Information System Concept Paper (IOC/IODE-XXIV/6.2.1, 19 March 2017) and feedback from the 29th Session of the IOC Assembly;'
ODIS is not a data portal, but the long-term vision is to become a fully functional discovery and access portal and ODIS will make a significant contribution to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development is a major initiative in the UN and the global marine community.

The IODE committee proposed the 'Establishment of an inter-sessional working group to propose a strategy on ocean data and information stewardship for the UN Ocean Decade (IWG-SODIS)'.
The current IODE co-chairs, Cyndy Chandler and Professor Yutaka Michida are stepping down and are replaced by Dr Sergei Belov and Taco de Bruin.
Cefas SmartBuoy phytoplankton data published 
This February saw the publication of more than 15 years’ worth of Phytoplankton community data collected by Cefas marine SmartBuoy network onto the Cefas Data Hub. Automatically collected and preserved water samples have been recovered from two historical and three active buoys regularly since 2001. These samples were analysed by taxonomists in the Cefas Phytoplankton Team for a full community of phytoplankton species.
Species and counts (in cells per litre), alongside accompanying sample and deployment information have been made available for public access via following rigorous QA and have been assigned a DOI for citation and tracking. A converted extract of the dataset has been published to the DASHH portal for use in Phytoplankton Indicator tools. The outputs from this dataset have already been utilised for Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) and OSPAR assessments.

It is expected that current and future phytoplankton Smartbuoy data will be published to the datahub on an annual basis.
More Events!

On Friday 26th April, Peter McKeague (Historic Environment Scotand) and Katie Green (Archaeology Data Service) will give a talk entitled 'Dead Man's Chest: Historic Environment Data Archive Centres and MEDIN (Marine Environmental Data and Information Network)' as part of the Offshore Development: Creating a Legacy for Marine Archaeology session at the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists Annual conference in Leeds.

This session will run from 11:30 to 15:30. 

The theme for the CIfA 2019 conference will provide a forum for delegates to discuss and explore ideas around social value, public benefit, and the creation of knowledge. 

It offers the opportunity to think about legacy and how the work we undertake now will impact on future generations – from inspiring future careers to learning lessons from our failures. We also want to consider how a multitude of stakeholders - archaeologists, policy makers, clients, the public - value our discipline: financially, politically and intellectually and to think about how effective we are in communicating that value through the stories we tell.

Free training session
OceanWise are running a free training session on "Reliable, smart and secure data transmission" at Ocean Business in Southampton on Wednesday 10th April at 15.00 in the Access Grid Room 124/14.  During this session you can learn why you should care about good data transmission, what ‘smart telemetry’ is and how proven technology can provide the solution to un reliable data transmission, even in the most hostile of marine environments.
To register email
If you want to find out more about environmental monitoring, data telemetry or the ip.buffer – you can contact OceanWise 01420 768262 at any time. You can also talk to any of the team at OceanBusiness on stand R6.
A Data Telemetry brochure is available online via the OceanWise website
Change is coming - Opportunity or threat? 

OceanWise are running free workshops again this year for those working in, or interested in, Marine Data and GIS.

The event is FREE to attend and provides a great opportunity to network and share your experiences and ideas with peers, academic experts, practictioners and management from a range of industries and sectors. 

Timings: 9.30 -16.30 + a closed session at 16.30 for those in the Scottish Data Framework
Registration: on our event page or contact Katie Eades, +44(0) 1420 768762
New functions on the MEDIN Portal - coming soon!  
Since the last Marine Data News, new exciting functions have been added to the MEDIN portal based on the feedback we’ve obtained from users. The updated version of the portal (version 1.1) is due for release within the next month.

There is now a ‘Search within bounding box’ tick box so that your geographical search can return metadata that is confined wholly  to within the box you have drawn. The red traffic light which indicates that a resource is not directly downloadable from a metadata record now takes the user to the contact details within the metadata.
It’s now possible to select multiple organisations from the data originator search field under advanced search. In total there have been 12 functional updates. Plus we have updated the domain name from  (which was a legacy domain name we have used for many years) to the more intuitive which makes the portal align to the new MEDIN website domain name.
New Marine Data Management Animation  
MEDIN Communications are creating a new Data Management animation. Focussing on the importance of metadata through a data access scenario. This animation will be used during our free MEDIN Data Standards Workshops. 
Updated MEDIN Discovery Metadata Standard V3.0  
MEDIN are delighted to announce that v3.0 of the MEDIN Discovery Metadata Standard has now been published on the MEDIN website. v3.0 of the Standard is available in two versions (i) a full version that contains multiple examples, details of sub-elements, xml encoding snippets and annexes and (ii) a brief version that does not contain sub element details or xml or annexes – this version is however more accessible as a quick reference.
A change log document has also been released to indicate what differences there are between v2.3.8 and v3.0 of the Standard. This is also available for download at the same link.
Throughout the remainder of 2019, MEDIN will be working on updating the schematron and metadata creation tools, and discovery metadata portal so as to function with v3.0 of the Standard.

Please note that it is MEDIN’s intention, once the tools and portal are updated, to retire v2.3.8 of the standard. The retirement will not however affect metadata in the portal generated with older versions of the Standard.
Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions relating to the new version of the Standard email Sean Gaffney
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