Integrated Publishing Toolkit(IPT)

free and open access to biodiversity data

The Australian Phytoplankton Database (1844 onwards)

Latest version published by CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere on May 28, 2018 CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere

There have been many individual phytoplankton datasets collected across Australia since the mid 1900s, but most are unavailable to the research community. We have searched archives, contacted researchers, and scanned the primary and grey literature to collate 3,665,221 records of marine phytoplankton species from Australian waters from 1844 to the present. Many of these are small datasets collected for local questions, but combined they provide over 170 years of data on phytoplankton communities in Australian waters. Units and taxonomy have been standardised, obviously erroneous data removed, and all metadata included. We have lodged this dataset with the Australian Ocean Data Network (, allowing public access. The Australian Phytoplankton Database will be invaluable for global change studies, as it allows analysis of ecological indicators of climate change and eutrophication (e.g., changes in distribution; diatom:dinoflagellate ratios). In addition, the standardised conversion of abundance records to biomass provides modellers with quantifiable data to initialise and validate ecosystem models of lower marine trophic levels.

This version of the database has been modified by 1) excluded existing data from IMOS, Antarctic Projects (597,599,744,746,748) as recorded in in imos_plankton.imos_apd_metadata 2) absence records have been removed.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 174,191 records.

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 174,191 records in English (4 MB) - Update frequency: continually
Metadata as an EML file download in English (7 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (7 KB)


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: a57985ac-a9af-4ccb-803c-f5b803af0318.  CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by Atlas of Living Australia.


Occurrence; Specimen


Who created the resource:

Claire Davies
Experimental Scientist
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere GPO Box 1538 7000 Hobart Tasmania AU

Who can answer questions about the resource:

Claire Davies
Experimental Scientist
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere GPO Box 1538 7000 Hobart Tasmania AU

Who filled in the metadata:

Dave Watts
OBIS Node Manager
CSIRO Oceans and Atmosphere Castray Esplanade 7000 Hobart Tasmania AU +61 3 6232 5062

Who else was associated with the resource:

Dave Watts

Geographic Coverage

Australian waters and Southern Ocean

Bounding Coordinates South West [-67, 99], North East [-5.1, 170]

Taxonomic Coverage

No Description available

Phylum  Cyanobacteria,  Myzozoa,  Ochrophyta,  Chlorophyta,  Euglenozoa

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 1844-01-01 / 2015-12-07

Additional Metadata

marine, harvested by iOBIS

Alternative Identifiers a57985ac-a9af-4ccb-803c-f5b803af0318