European Ocean Biodiversity Information System

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Ramirez-Llodra, E., Blanco, 2005. ChEssBase: an online information system on biodiversity and biogeography of deep-sea fauna from chemosynthetic ecosystems. Version 2. World Wide Web electronic publications,
Contact: Ramirez-Llodra, Eva

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Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

ChEssBase is a dynamic relational database for all deep-water species from chemosynthetic ecosystems (hydrothermal vents, cold seeps and other reducing environments such as whale carcasses, sunken wood or OMZs) being constructed from the ChEss project (Biogeography of Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Ecosystems) within the Census of Marine Life initiative. more

The aim of ChEssBase is to provide taxonomical, biological, ecological and distributional data for all species described from deep-water chemosynthetic ecosystems, as well as information on available samples, images, bibliography and information on the habitats.

These habitats include hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, whale falls, sunken wood and areas of minimum oxygen that intersect with the continental margin or seamounts. Since the discovery of hydrothermal vents in 1977 and of cold seep communities in 1984, over 590 species from vents and over 230 species from seeps have been described. Chemosynthetically fueled communities have now also been found on large organic falls to the deep-sea floor such as whale falls and sunken wood, as well as on benthic zones of oxygen minimum.

The data gathered in the last 30 years has shown that some species are shared amongst these ecosystems and our knowledge of their phylogeography improves with every new discovery. New species are continuously being discovered and described from research programmes around the globe and therefore ChEssBase is in active development and new data are being entered regularly. At present, ChEssBase includes data on 1740 species from 193 chemosynthetic sites around the globe. These data contain information (when available) on the taxonomy, morphology, trophic level, reproduction, endemicity, habitat type and distribution. There are now 1880 papers in our reference database.

The first version of ChEssBase was available online in December 2004. In summer 2005, ChEssBase and the InterRidge biological database ( were fused into a single source of information for biological data from chemosynthetic ecosystems. This second version of ChEssBase is available online since August 2005, with new records as well as new search and download options. Since December 2005, ChEssBase is integrated in the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS,

ChEssBase is supported by a species-based relational database in MySQL. The database includes 3 major components:

  1. Taxonomy (from kingdom to subspecies)
  2. Distribution (from site to major geographic area)
  3. Samples (including sample, cruise and institution information)

ChEssBase is regularly updated with new information available in the literature. In order to quickly obtain accurate new data and help maintain the database up to date, we would be very grateful if you could send us any new publications with data relevant to ChEssBase, which we would add to the database, together with the relevant references.

Biology > Benthos, Biology > Fish, Biology > Macroalgae
Marine/Coastal, Bibliographic information, Biogeography, Biology, Ecology, Taxonomy, EurOBIS calculated BBOX, World Oceans

Geographical coverage
EurOBIS calculated BBOX Stations
Bounding Box
Coordinates: MinLong: -158,13; MinLat: -55,1011 - MaxLong: 179,7; MaxLat: 72 [WGS84]
World Oceans [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
From 1977 on [In Progress]

Habitat type

Census of Marine Life (COML)data providerdata owner
University of Southampton; National Oceanography Centre (NOC), moredata ownerdata providerdata manager
Hall, Sally
Baker, Maria
Perry, Daniel
University of Southampton; National Oceanography Centre, Southampton; School of Ocean & Earth Science (SOES)data providerdata managerdata creatordata creator
Ramirez-Llodra, Eva

Related datasets
Published in:
AntOBIS: Antarctic Ocean Biodiversity Information System
EurOBIS: European Ocean Biodiversity Information System, more


Dataset status: In Progress
Data type: Data
Data origin: Literature research
Metadatarecord created: 2004-06-24
Information last updated: 2013-06-13
All data in the Integrated Marine Information System (IMIS) is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy