Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO): A System for Access to Ecological and Biogeochemical Ocean Data
The Earth System is changing rapidly as a result of growing pressure from human activities that are changing important components of the System. The oceans act as the flywheel of the climate system, playing major roles in the climate, the water cycle, the carbon cycle, global energy budgets, and sea level rise. Study and understanding of this component of the Earth System requires integrated multi-disciplinary investigations with access to oceanographic data of biological, chemical, geological, and physical origin. The Biological and Chemical Oceanography Data Management Office (BCO-DMO) was created to serve PIs funded by the NSF Biological and Chemical Oceanography Sections and the Division of Polar Programs Antarctic Organisms and Ecosystems Program as a facility where marine biogeochemical and ecological data and information developed in the course of scientific research can be managed and made publicly available. BCO-DMO provides integrated chemical, biological and physical data inventories from a number of large and intermediate-sized programs, as well as single investigator projects. BCO-DMO also provides scientific investigators the opportunity to explore complex and multifaceted datasets and supports cross-disciplinary collaboration to address pressing environmental questions, problems, and challenges that are exacerbated with the increasing pace of climate change. The BCO-DMO collection of datasets contributed by researchers funded by NSF and others is a publicly available resource accessible via the BCO-DMO website. BCO-DMO supports synthesis and modeling activities, reuse of oceanographic data for new research endeavors, availability of "real data" for classroom use by teachers and students at K-12 and college level, and provides decision-support field data for policy-relevant issues. BCO-DMO outreach activities include participation in community training courses and workshops both national and international, and help to foster long-term collaborative partnerships between data management professionals and research investigators. These outreach activities reduce community barriers by fostering the sharing of ideas among synergistic, but otherwise independent research groups. BCO-DMO actively participates in the exchange of knowledge at oceanographic and informatics meetings, an important mechanism by which standards development and adoption occurs. The primary goal of the BCO-DMO data management repository is to manage existing and new datasets from NSF funded individual scientific investigators and collaborative groups of investigators, and to make the data available online. The BCO-DMO data management system is composed of a metadata database and the distributed client-server JGOFS/GLOBEC data system, plus text-based and map-based user interfaces and support for machine clients to access the information and data available from the repository. The office works with principal investigators and other data contributors to support all phases of the data lifecycle; maintain an inventory of projects, deployments, and datasets; generate standards-compliant metadata records as required by federal agencies; promote compliance with the NSF Ocean Sciences data policy; ensure submission of data to national data centers for archive; support and encourage data synthesis by providing enhanced data discovery and access systems; facilitate interoperability among distributed data repositories; and facilitate regional, national, and international data and information exchange. The office participates in the development and use of open-source, standards-based technologies that enable interoperable data systems to exchange data and information that will foster next-generation research in all disciplines. As the analysis of ocean processes becomes more and more sophisticated, multidisciplinary data integration will also grow more complex. BCO-DMO fosters information sharing and is committed to being a fundamental component of the ocean science research infrastructure without which the goals of existing and future ocean research programs cannot be met.