Distribution maps

The MarLIN website relies on data disseminated by regional, National, European and International initiatives on the distribution of marine species or habitats.  As a result, the distribution maps presented on the website are automatically updated as new data becomes available.

Species distribution maps

The species distribution data is supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), part of the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO.  The data is provided under a CC-0 (Creative Commons: Public Domain) license (see https://obis.org/manual/policy/) but should be cited as follows.

OBIS,  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biodiversity Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2024-05-18

Further detail is available via the OBIS Mapper. In addition, UK data can be interrogated via the NBN Atlas.

Technical information.  The distribution maps present gridded data (on a 5 degree lat./long. grid) based on OBIS web services. The map is displayed using the Leaflet base map with GeoJSON vector tiles. 

Habitat distribution maps

The habitat distribution data on UK biotopes is supplied by the Seabed Habitats programme of EMODnet  (http://www.emodnet-seabedhabitats.eu/) in liaison with the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC). 

Technical information. The data is provided by the EMODnet Web Mapping Service (WMS) via MapServer.


  1. MarLIN does not control the data presented in the distribution maps. Any enquiries regarding data should be forwarded to the relevant data provider (i.e. NBN, EMODnet, OBIS).
  2. MarLIN is aware of some marine species data discrepancies between the NBN and OBIS.  The current (2018) data issues are being addressed at the national level. Please forward any enquires to dassh.enquiries@mba.ac.uk
  3. MarLIN will also pursue data issues with the relevant data provider, where we are aware of the issue.  Please let us know if you feel that our maps are missing important data so that we can inform the data provider. Or inform the data provider directly.
  4. An overview of marine data flow is provided by EurOBIS. UK marine data is processed by the relevant data archive and the NBN.