IOC Sub Commission

for Africa and the Adjacent Island States - IOCAFRICA

Three ship-based visual surveys of the temporal and spatial distribution of marine mammals in the CCLME region were undertaken during the FAO/CCLME fisheries research cruises off the Northwest African in 2012-2013 on board the R/V Fridtjof Nansen using the following methodology: (a) collection of marine mammal sighting data including number of sightings per species, observer effort data and relative densities using standard data sampling protocols, (b) Recording of the following parameters: species, GPS position, data/time, bearing /radial distance reaction to vessel, group size, behavior, any cutaneous diseases, associated species, habitat data, voucher photos, and (c) Evaluation of the marine mammal biodiversity, distribution, relative density, seasonality aspects, health status in relation to habitat/oceanography and historical insights from the literature. Training and equipment was provided to marine biologists from the region during these surveys. The data collected have been used to enrich the OBIS database.

The contribution of the African institutions to the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) was improved considerably through the organization of focused workshops during which experts from ODINAFRICA institutions in Africa developed databases on marine molluscs, sponges, and decapods. The work formed the basis for creation of the African Register of Marine AfReMaS ( – AfReMaS), which already had more than 24,300 as at the end of August 2013. Some of the institutions have made progress in developing national marine biodiversity databases and availing them online or through the AfrOBIS node, which is one of the global nodes of OBIS. A project to digitize marine biodiversity data collected in the Gulf of Guinea (in particular national waters of Guinea) by ex-Soviet Union research vessels was implemented and the data generated included in OBIS.

The African Coastal and Marine Atlas ( was initiated as a continental-scale online resource of public-domain geospatial data. The project was designed to identify, collect and organize data sets into an atlas of biophysical themes, including: basemaps, geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, biosphere and the human and built environment. A second aim was to provide training to increase the use of Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and spatial data products for the dissemination of appropriate, timely and relevant information. The inventory of data sets in the atlas is also a useful indicator of gaps, either in the knowledge base or the availability of the data in the public domain. The Coastal and Marine Atlases currently have more than 3,500 maps for different features from the coastal areas of 20 countries. Five regional atlases have also been developed for the Large Marine Ecosystem regions as follows: Agulhas and Somali Current, Benguela Current, Canary Current, Guinea Current, and the Mediterranean and Red Sea regions. The national and regional atlases can be accessed at: , while the related metadata is available at: The initial continental maps and data sets can be accessed at:

The African network for measurements and monitoring of sea level was expanded and upgraded by installing new tide gauges in Cameroon, Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Ghana, and Mauritania. The installation of Global Navigations Satellite Systems – GNSS receivers at the sea level stations in Takoradi (Ghana), and Inhambane and Pemba (Mozambique) provides the connection between the horizontal and the vertical datum at these locations. The tidal and GNSS observations together allows one to monitor crustal motions at the tide gauge locations in order to derive absolute or climate related signals in mean sea level from the tide records. Experts from the African countries used the training provided to analyse data from the sea level stations around Africa and prepare tidal predictions.

Data from the stations can be accessed near-real time at

Thanks to the combined efforts of GLOSS, IOC/tsunami and ODINAFRICA, Africa now has a network of 40 sea level stations.

National data collections were developed. These consisted of ocean station data (from global and local sources), satellite analyses, ocean climatologies, weather climatologies, geology, base mapping, ecology, fisheries. The institutions participating in ODINAFRICA have been provided with a data CD containing data from the IOCEA and IOCWIO regions obtained from other IODE data centres around the world. In addition a programme to identify, digitise and repatriate other datasets which are available in foreign institutions to the regions was implemented in the framework of GODAR. Several ODINAFRICA NODCs published their National Marine Database collections on CD-ROMs and other media. A catalogue of data sets can also be accessed through a central GeoNetwork server located at:

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