BioData: A National Aquatic Bioassessment Database

BioData is a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) web-enabled database that for the first time provides for the capture, curation, integration, and delivery of bioassessment data collected by local, regional, and national USGS projects. BioData offers field biologists advanced capabilities for entering, editing, and reviewing the macroinvertebrate, algae, fish, and supporting habitat data from rivers and streams. It offers data archival and curation capabilities that protect and maintain data for the long term. BioData provides the Federal, State, and local governments, as well as the scientific community, resource managers, the private sector, and the public with easy access to tens of thousands of samples collected nationwide from thousands of stream and river sites. BioData also provides the USGS with centralized data storage for delivering data to other systems and applications through automated web services.

BioData allows users to combine data sets of known quality from different projects in various locations over time. It provides a nationally aggregated database for users to leverage data from many independent projects that, until now, was not feasible at this scale. For example, from 1991 to 2011, the USGS Idaho Water Science Center collected more than 816 bioassessment samples from 63 sites for the National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program and more than 477 samples from 39 sites for a cooperative USGS and State of Idaho Statewide Water Quality Network (fig. 1). Using BioData, 20 years of samples collected for both of these projects can be combined for analysis.

BioData delivers all of the data using current taxonomic nomenclature, thus relieving users of the difficult and time-consuming task of harmonizing taxonomy among samples collected during different time periods. Fish data are reported using the Integrated Taxonomic Information Service (ITIS) Taxonomic Serial Numbers (TSN’s). A simple web-data input interface and self-guided, public data-retrieval web site provides access to bioassessment data. BioData currently accepts data collected using two national protocols: (1) NAWQA and (2) U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) National Rivers and Streams Assessment (NRSA). Additional collection protocols are planned for future versions.

Click here to learn more about BioData