SBC LTER Darwin Core Archive: Kelp Forest Reef Fish Abundance

Latest version published by United States Geological Survey on Jan 18, 2023 United States Geological Survey
Publication date:
18 January 2023
CC-BY 4.0

Download the latest version of this resource data as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A) or the resource metadata as EML or RTF:

Data as a DwC-A file download 43,610 records in English (617 KB) - Update frequency: unknown
Metadata as an EML file download in English (11 KB)
Metadata as an RTF file download in English (12 KB)


These data describe the abundance of reef fish as part of the Santa Barbara Coastal LTER program (SBC LTER) to track long-term patterns in kelp forest reef species abundance and diversity. The study began in 2000 in the Santa Barbara Channel, California, USA, and the time series is ongoing and updated approximately annually.

Abundances of all taxa of resident kelp forest fish encountered along permanent transects are recorded at nine reef sites located along the mainland coast of the Santa Barbara Channel and at two sites on the north side of Santa Cruz Island. These sites reflect several oceanographic regimes in the channel and vary in distance from sources of terrestrial runoff. In these surveys, fish were counted in either a 40x2m benthic quadrat, or in the water parcel 0-2m off the bottom over the same area.

This dataset is formatted as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A, occurrence core). All taxa are counted (using an open species list), and abundances are zero-filled for each taxon not encountered. This is a derived data product and less-processed data may be available. See for more information and source data, which may include additional measurements, and for processing notes.

Data Records

The data in this occurrence resource has been published as a Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A), which is a standardized format for sharing biodiversity data as a set of one or more data tables. The core data table contains 43,610 records.

This IPT archives the data and thus serves as the data repository. The data and resource metadata are available for download in the downloads section. The versions table lists other versions of the resource that have been made publicly available and allows tracking changes made to the resource over time.


The table below shows only published versions of the resource that are publicly accessible.


Researchers should respect the following rights statement:

The publisher and rights holder of this work is United States Geological Survey. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY 4.0) License.

GBIF Registration

This resource has been registered with GBIF, and assigned the following GBIF UUID: 1683e434-321c-4b55-a5b0-6e05eb6d931f.  United States Geological Survey publishes this resource, and is itself registered in GBIF as a data publisher endorsed by U.S. Geological Survey.


Population Abundance; BasisofRecord: HumanObservation; Occurrence: OrganismQuantity; Taxon: ScientificName; Occurrence; Observation; Occurrence


Robert Miller
  • Originator
  • Point Of Contact
Principal Investigator
University of California
93106-6150 Santa Barbara
805 893 6174
Daniel C Reed
  • Originator
Co-Principal Investigator
UC Santa Barbara Marine Science Institute
Margaret O'Brien
  • Metadata Provider
Information Manager
Mathew Biddle
  • Distributor
Physical Scientist
United States Marine Biodiversity Observation Network (US MBON)
1315 East-West Highway
20910 Silver Spring

Geographic Coverage

Nearshore reefs of the Santa Barbara Channel and Channel Islands, California, USA

Bounding Coordinates South West [34.392, -120.333], North East [34.472, -119.542]

Temporal Coverage

Start Date / End Date 2000-08-01 / 2016-07-27

Project Data

No Description available

Title Santa Barbara Channel Marine Biodiversity Observation Network

The personnel involved in the project:

Robert J Miller
  • Principal Investigator
Daniel Reed
  • Co-Principal Investigator
David Siegel
  • Co-Principal Investigator
Craig Carlson
  • Co-Principal Investigator
Kevin D Lafferty
  • Co-Principal Investigator
B.S. Manjunath
  • Co-Principal Investigator
Andrew Rassweiler
  • Co-Principal Investigator

Sampling Methods

No Description available

Method step description:

  1. One of the main strengths of the long term ecological research program is that it allows us to evaluate changes in the ecological community against the background of natural long-term variability. This long-term context is particularly important when we seek to distinguish between changes caused by natural processes and those caused by human activities. SBC LTER has undertaken long-term measurements of the abundance of reef algae, invertebrates and fish within permanent transects at 11 kelp forest sites in the Santa Barbara Channel. These data represent one of the core research activities of SBC LTER and they provide a relatively comprehensive description of community structure and dynamics of kelp forest communities within our study region.
  2. The number, size and species identity of reef fish are recorded within a 2 m wide swath centered along each transect extending 2 m off the bottom. See the protocol document for more information

Additional Metadata

marine, harvest by iOBIS

Alternative Identifiers edi.140