30 May 2024, at the ad-hoc Steering group meeting of the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS), Dan Lear has been appointed as the new co-chair of the OBIS Steering Group. Dan, who is the OBIS UK node manager and a prominent figure in marine biodiversity data management, brings a wealth of experience and expertise to his new role. With over 25 years of experience in standards-based marine biodiversity data management at national, European, and global levels, Dan’s appointment promises to drive further growth and innovation within OBIS. His extensive career has been marked by significant achievements in leveraging technology and data to advance marine biodiversity understanding and conservation.

Dan currently leads the IT and Data & Information Teams at the Marine Biological Association (MBA), where he oversees DASSH, the UK node of OBIS. Under his leadership, the MBA has accomplished several milestones, including the open publication of over six million records of marine species and habitats, attaining CoreTrustSeal accreditation, and integrating eDNA, habitat, and imagery data. His efforts have also established robust data governance policies and procedures. In addition to his work at the MBA, Dan plays a pivotal role in pan-European data-centric initiatives such as DTOBioFlow, MARCO-BOLO, and EMODNet Biology. He manages the Continuous Plankton Recorder dataset, the world’s longest-running and most geographically extensive marine ecological survey. His leadership in these projects ensures high standards in data management and publication, contributing to global marine biodiversity research.

Dan’s extensive involvement in various steering and working groups underscores his commitment to fostering collaboration and innovation. He is the chair of the UK Biodiversity Data & Information Group (BioDIG), co-chair of the MEDIN Data Archive Centre Working Group, and an active member of the existing OBIS Steering Group. These roles have seen him work closely with national policy leads, industry bodies, academics, NGOs, and wider civil society, promoting a culture of cross-functional teamwork and shared goals.

His new role as co-chair of the OBIS Steering Group aligns with his ongoing efforts to support UK, European, and global policy development. As the data lead and liaison to the UK Government’s Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group (HBDSEG), Dan is instrumental in delivering evidence-driven indicators for the state of UK and European waters.

Dan’s dedication to community engagement and communication is evident through his organization and coordination of numerous international workshops and meetings. His ability to communicate complex technical issues to non-specialists ensures the development of common understanding and shared approaches among diverse stakeholders.

As OBIS continues to evolve and expand its impact, Dan Lear’s leadership and vision will undoubtedly play a critical role in guiding the organization toward new heights in marine biodiversity data management and innovation. The OBIS community welcomes him warmly and looks forward to the positive contributions he will bring as co-chair.

Dan Lear will Co-Chair OBIS together with Katherine Tattersall (node manager of OBIS Australia).

The full report of the ad-hoc OBIS steering group meeting is available here: https://oceanexpert.org/document/34530