Marine biological data can represent for example species presence and absence, abundance, and density.
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Marine biology encompasses an enormous variety of microorganisms, plant life, crustaceans, fish species and marine mammals, from the smallest algae to the largest creature on Earth today: The blue whale. Life in the ocean is closely linked to the physics and chemistry of seawater and the seabed, but the most important (and the most visual) characteristic of marine biology is the dependence on seasons. Species migration, feeding, and reproductive cycles are frequently governed by the seasonal changes in ocean temperature and the availability of sunlight to initiate the algal blooms that are so important for the higher trophic levels.
Marine biological data span a vast array of different data types, from numerical simulations of algal blooms to individual visual observations of invasive species in a limited region. It is therefore difficult so summarize a method of data processing that accounts for all data types.
A good starting point for collecting and processing is to search the Ocean Best Practices repository, managed by the United Nations Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO (IOC-UNESCO, https://www.oceanbestpractices.org/). This site contains over 1000 best practices documents written by experts in their fields, including instrument calibration practices, recommendations for performing measurements and more.
In the U.S., NOAA has developed the Coastal & Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS), with the aim of ensuring consistent descriptions of ecological features. The CMECS is a federal standard, and it is therefore a required standard to apply to all federally funded measurement campaigns.
The four main components of CMECS are:
Water column (ecological features in the water column, including physical parameters such as temperature, salinity, and currents)
Geoform (details on the coast and seafloor characteristics)
Substrate (characteristics on materials on the seabed, of both geological, biological, and anthropogenic origin)
Biotic (biological features in the water column and on the sea floor)
The CMECS is built hierarchically, meaning that measurements are organized from top level domains to increasingly different sub-categories.