Submit your data

Biological data submission

BODC aims to ensure that all data incorporated into our database are adequately documented to allow long term viability and future access. Therefore, key data set information (metadata) are important for each data set we receive.

Our 'General guide to data submission' provides details of

  • Data delivery mechanisms.
  • Data file format and file naming.
  • Parameter descriptions.
  • General data set information (basic metadata)
    • Where, when and how the data were collected.
    • Who was responsible for data collection and how you refer to your data set.
    • What has been done to the data.
    • Watch points for other users (e.g. problems encountered and comments on data quality).

In the context of this guide, phytoplankton, zooplankton or bacteria sampling may be achieved using either a vertical, horizontal or oblique tow of a net, or from a rosette bottle system.

Information specific to biological data are described below. Metadata may be supplied in any standard document format (i.e. Microsoft Word or text), included in file headers or by providing a literature reference. Please do not be discouraged from sending us data even if some of the information is unavailable. We fully understand that there are many reasons why the standards specified may not be completely achieved.

A net tow log sheet Download a Mircosoft Word version of a net tow log sheet (107 KB), Download an Adobe PDF version of a net tow log sheet (87 KB)

Instructions for other data types are also available.

Data standard

Ideally, the data set should consist of a header and the data in one or more files. Each record should consist of date, time, navigation, measured parameters and computed values. If computed values are included, the equations used in the computations should be stated.

All relevant calibrations (laboratory and field) should be applied to the data. It should be checked for quality and pre-edited or flagged for erroneous values. Sample data collected for calibration purposes should also be provided.

Metadata specific to biological data

Collection details

  • Ship and cruise identifier.
  • Project (if applicable).
  • Net tow (or bottle) identifier.
  • Date/time of the start/end of each net tow.
  • Position of the start/end of each net tow.
  • Tow orientation (vertical, horizontal or oblique).
  • Maximum and minimum depth of the net tow.
  • Length and speed of tow.
  • Volume of water filtered.
  • Date, time and depth of bottle sample.
  • Position of bottle sample.
  • Method of position fixing (i.e. DGPS, GPS).
  • Sample preservation (i.e. pickled or frozen).
  • Water column depth. Include method — i.e. sounding and methodology, chart.
  • Weather conditions — including sun and wind.
  • Twilight time.

Equipment details

  • Net type (i.e. Single or multi-net, net mouth size, net mesh size)
  • Bottle sampling. Include — manufacturer, reference number, rosette position or firing sequence. Provide a literature reference, web site reference or briefly describe.

Analysis, experiments and data processing

  • Laboratory procedures and instrumentation.
  • Species counts or mass measurements.
  • Description of any respiration, feeding or physiological experiments and results.
  • Any sub-sampling.
  • Quality control methods.
  • Quality control report.