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The contributors to GEO BON collaborate with one another on a voluntary basis, under the guidance of the SC-GEO BON, to advance the development and dissemination of observations, data, information, analyses and decision-support services on biodiversity and ecosystem services. Key contributors to GEO BON include:

National governments

The bulk of the implementation is and will increasingly be performed by countries, Members of GEO, who have requested from the community, via the GEOSS process, plans for a global biodiversity observation system, that is for GEO BON.

The Working Groups

The GEO BON Steering Committee has established eight working groups to advance the implementation of specific topics. Each working group is made of up to 20 members. The working group leads are indicated in parenthesis:

  1. Genetics (Tetzukazu Yahara and Daniel Faith)
  2. Terrestrial Species Monitoring Programmes (Henrique Pereira and Richard Gregory)
  3. Terrestrial Ecosystem Monitoring (Andrew Skidmore)
  4. Freshwater Ecosystem Monitoring (Ian Harrison and Eren Turak)
  5. Marine Ecosystem Monitoring (Mark Costello and Isabel Sousa Pinto)
  6. Ecosystem Services (Patty Balvanera)
  7. In-situ / Remote-sensing Integration (Simon Ferrier)
  8. Data Integration and Inter-operability: Informatics and Portals (Hannu Saarenmaa and Wim Hugo)
  9. Biodiversity Indicators (Matt Walpole and Melodie McGeoch)

Key organisations

The following organisations have been particularly active in GEO BON. Many more organisations are relevant to GEO BON and encouraged to join GEO BON.

DIVERSITAS the international programme for biodiversity sciences. See about DIVERSITAS.

The European Biodiversity Observation Network (EBONE) intends to be the basis of a cost effective data collection system for biodiversity including extant data, both past and present, at national, regional and European levels. It is a crucial European contribution to the work of GEO BON.

The Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) is a global network of data providers that builds biodiversity information infrastructure and promotes the growth of biodiversity information content on the Internet by working with partner initiatives and coordinating activities worldwide.

International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) consists of networks of scientists engaged in long-term, site-based ecological and socioeconomic research. Our mission is to improve understanding of global ecosystems and inform solutions to current and future environmental problems.

The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Earth System Science conducts and sponsors research, collects new observations from space, develops technologies, and extends science and technology education to learners of all ages.

The United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) evaluates and highlights the many values of biodiversity and put authoritative biodiversity knowledge at the centre of decision-making.

The US Geological Service (USGS) provides reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy, and mineral resources; and enhance and protect the quality of life.

The Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science (SAHFOS) is an international charity that operates the Continuous Plankton Recorder (CPR) survey.

The Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research (NIOZ) is the leading research institute in The Netherlands for the marine sciences.

The ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity (ACB) is an intergovernmental, regional centre of excellence that facilitates cooperation among the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and relevant national governments and regional and international organizations on the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity and the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the use of such biodiversity.

The Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and its global network of regional and thematic OBIS nodes integrates data from many sources over a wide range of marine themes, from the poles to the equator, and from microbes to whales.

Plus many others.

The Regional BONs

Regional BONs focus on a particular geographic region and mostly emerge on their own through regional interest, organisation, and support.   A list of current and emerging Regional BONs appears in the Table below:




Current state/comments



CBMP (Circumpolar Biodiversity Monitoring Program)

Operating; CBMP was forming as a regional BON prior to GEO BON



AP-BON (Asia-Pacific BON)

Under Development, funded by Japan Ministry of Environment.  Coordinates with ACB


Asia, southeast

(ACB) ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity

Operating; Coordinates with AP-BON



EBONE (European BON): 2008-2012

EU BON: 2013-2017

Under development, EC-funded





Under discussion; may expand to North America



The Steering Committee of GEO BON (SC-GEO BON)

The GEO BON steering committee consists of about 20 representatives of leading biodiversity organisations and independent experts. It establishes working groups to assist it in carrying out its work. The Committee’s responsibilities include prioritising activities, partnerships and projects, fund raising, identifying gaps and promoting greater awareness of GEO BON.

GEO BON Steering Committee (as of 1 January 2013)


  • Henrique Miguel Pereira, iDIV, Germany


  • Mike Gill, Environment Canada, Canada


GEO BON Task Co-Leads

  • DIVERSITAS – Anne-Hélène Prieur-Richard
  • European Union (European Biodiversity Observation Network, EBONE)
  • US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) – Woody Turner and Gary Geller


Executive Director

  • Jörg Freyhof, iDIV, Germany



  • ASEAN Centre for Biodiversity - Sheila Vergara
  • Centro de Referência em Informação Ambiental (CRIA) - Dora Ann Lange Canhos
  • Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) Secretariat – Robert Höft
  • European Space Agency (ESA) - Marc Paganini
  • Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) – Donald Hobern
  • GEO Secretariat - Georgios Sarantakos
  • International Long Term Ecological Research (ILTER) – Terry Parr
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) - Jon Paul Rodriguez
  • Smithsonian Institution – Leonard Hirsch
  • United Nations Environment Programme - World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) – Jon Hutton/Matt Walpole
  • US Geological Survey (USGS) – Roger Sayre


Independent experts

  • Daniel Faith, Australian Museum, Australia
  • Simon Ferrier, CSIRO, Australia
  • Norbert Jürgens, University of Hamburg
  • Harold Mooney, Standford University, USA
  • Isabel Sousa Pinto, University of Porto, Portugal
  • Robert Scholes, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), South Africa, past Chair
  • Eren Turak, NSW Office of Enviroment and Heritage, Australia
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