Biological Integration and Observational (BIO) Task Team

Goals and Rationale

The primary goals of the BIO-TT were to improve the availability of observations on the five previously identified IOOS core biological variables (core biological variables: phytoplankton species, zooplankton species, zooplankton abundance, fish species and fish abundance), as well as to  identify and prioritize additional cross-cutting federal agency biological and ecosystem observation needs. To meet these goals, the IOOC BIO-TT collaborated with the IOOS Program Office, the Regional Associations, and other federal interagency working groups as needed. The BIO-TT completed the following tasks to enable the overarching goals identified.

  1. To improve the availability of existing IOOS core biological variables, the BIO-TT:
    • inventoried existing sources of core variables, associated data standards and bio-sensor technology , including their integration status under IOOS
    • developed plans and identified partners to integrate remaining sources of core variables into IOOS, including identification of mature bio-sensors and development of data standards, if appropriate.
  2. To identify, and prioritize additional cross-cutting biological and ecosystem observation needs, the BIO-TT:
    • surveyed federal agency aquatic biological and ecosystem priority data needs;
    • identified and prioritized cross-cutting biological and ecosystem variables;
    • hosted an expert workshop to review the prioritized biological and ecosystem variables;
    • determined implementation strategies for proposed new IOOS core biological and ecosystem variables.


The task team developed two reports, per their goals, which were approved and released by the NSTC in December 2016: 

With the completion of the reports, the task team developed an activity summary and list of overarching recommendations to the IOOC and IOOS. A major recommendation from the task team was that the IOOC adopt the full list of 11 new variables (phytoplankton abundance, species and abundance of corals, invertebrates, marine mammals, microbes (including microbial activity), sea birds, sea turtles, and submerged aquatic vegetation, biological vital rates, nekton diet, and sound) as core variables of IOOS.

IOOS Core Variables


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