Creating Standardized Range Maps for Eventually All Species in the Oceans
AquaMaps are computer-generated predictions of natural occurrence of marine species, based on the environmental tolerance of a given species with respect to depth, salinity, temperature, primary productivity, and its association with sea ice or coastal areas. These 'environmental envelopes' are matched against an authority file which contains respective information for the Oceans of the World. Independent knowledge such as distribution by FAO areas or bounding boxes are used to avoid mapping species in areas that contain suitable habitat, but are not occupied by the species. Maps show the color-coded likelihood of a species to occur in a half-degree cell, with about 50 km side length near the equator. Experts are able to review, modify and approve maps.

Environmental envelopes are created in part (FAO areas, bounding boxes, depth ranges) from respective information in species databases such as FishBase and in part from occurrence records available from OBIS or GBIF. AquaMaps predictions have been validated successfully for a number of species using independent data sets and the model was shown to perform equally well or better than other standard species distribution models, when faced with the currently existing suboptimal input data sets (Ready et al. 2010).

The creation of AquaMaps is supported by the following projects: MARA, Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation, INCOFISH, Sea Around Us, and Biogeoinformatics of Hexacorals.

Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 Unported License. (CC-BY-NC)
You are welcome to include maps from in your own web sites for non-commercial use, given that such inserts are clearly identified as coming from AquaMaps, with a backward link to the respective source page.

Rainer Froese, GEOMAR,
Kristin Kaschner, Uni Freiburg, model
Ma. Lourdes D. Palomares, UBC, extension to non-fish marine
Sven Kullander, NRM, extension to
Jonathan Ready, NRM,
Tony Rees, CSIRO, mapping
Paul Eastwood, SOPAC,
Andy South, CEFAS,
Josephine Rius-Barile, FIN, database programming / data
Cristina Garilao, GEOMAR, web
Kathleen Kesner-Reyes, FIN, map
Elizabeth Bato, FIN, map validation (non-fish)

Cite AquaMaps itself as:
Kaschner, K., J. Rius-Barile, K. Kesner-Reyes, C.Garilao, S.O. Kullander, T. Rees and R. Froese (2013). AquaMaps: Predicted range maps for aquatic species. World wide web electronic publication,, Version 08/2013.

Recent AquaMaps presentations
Rainer Froese. Atlas of the Living Oceans. Future Oceans Cluster Retreat, Schleswig, Germany (3/2011) PPT
Rainer Froese. Winners and Losers in the Future Ocean: Insights from Millions of Samples. Invited presentation at the EDIT Symposium, Paris, France (1/2011) PDF
Kristin Kaschner. BfN Progress on Marine Conservation. Stralsund, Germany (11/2009) PDF
Rainer Froese. The Future Ocean Atlas: Research, Visualization, Outreach. Presentation at the Future Ocean Retreat, Schleswig, Germany (3/2010) PDF
Rainer Froese. Mapping Life on Earth: Recent Progress with AquaMaps. Invited presentation at the TELDAP Conference, Taipei, Taiwan (3/2010) PDF
Kathleen Kesner-Reyes. AquaMaps: An Overview PDF
Rainer Froese. FishBase Symposium, Qingdao, China (9/2009) PDF
Rainer Froese. AquaMaps: Mapping Marine Biodiversity. Keynote presentation at the Stockholm Biodiversity Informatics Symposium, NRM, Stockholm, Sweden (12/2008) PDF
Kathleen Kesner-Reyes. Reviewing Automated AquaMaps Outputs. WP3/AquaMaps Workshop, La Paz, Mexico (3/2007) PDF
Kathleen Kesner-Reyes. AquaMaps and FishBase Tables PDF
Josephine "Skit" Rius-Barile. AquaMaps - behind the scenes PDF
Eli Agbayani. TCOM Meeting, Basel, Switzerland (9/2008) PDF

Key AquaMaps publications:
Kaschner, K., D.P. Tittensor, J. Ready, T Gerrodette and B. Worm (2011). Current and Future Patterns of Global Marine Mammal Biodiversity. PLoS ONE 6(5): e19653. PDF
Ready, J., K. Kaschner, A.B. South, P.D Eastwood, T. Rees, J. Rius, E. Agbayani, S. Kullander and R. Froese (2010). Predicting the distributions of marine organisms at the global scale. Ecological Modelling 221(3): 467-478. PDF

Papers based on AquaMaps:
Jones, M.C., S.R. Dyeb, J.K. Pinnegar and W.W.L. Cheung (2012). Modelling commercial fish distributions: Prediction and assessment using different approaches. Ecological Modelling 225(2012): 133-145. PDF
Coll, M., C. Piroddi, J. Steenbeek, K. Kaschner, F. Ben Rais Lasram et al. (2010). The biodiversity of the Mediterranean Sea: estimates, patterns, and threats. PLoS ONE 5(8): e11842. PDF
Martin C.S., Fletcher R., Jones M.C., Kaschner K., Sullivan E., Tittensor D.P., Mcowen C., Geffert J.L., van Bochove J.W., Thomas H., Blyth S., Ravillious C., Tolley M., Stanwell-Smith D. (2014). Manual of marine nd coastal datasets of biodiversity importance. May 2014 release. Cambridge (UK): UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre. 28 pp. (+ 4 annexes totalling 174 pp. and one e-supplement). PDF