User’s guide and metada for the PICES Nonindigenous Species Information System

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Welcome to the PICES Nonindigenous Species Information System, a Microsoft Access database that displays the biogeographic distributions, invasion status, vectors, and key life history attributes of the approximately 740 reported nonindigenous species (NIS) in the estuarine and near-coastal habitats of the North Pacific and Hawaii. This database was developed by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Geological Survey under the auspices of Working Group 21 (Invasive Species) of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization (PCIES). The PICES database contains the data used to generate the “Atlas of Nonindigenous Marine and Estuarine Species in the North Pacific” (Lee and Reusser, 2012; herein referred to as the “Atlas”). The User’s Guide provides instructions on how to use the PICES database as well as metadata for the database and the Atlas. We note that for most users, the Atlas provides a simpler approach to accessing key information on NIS in the PICES countries than the database, though the database does provide additional information on species and sources as well as allowing users to extract information on specific taxa and/or locations (see Section 4).

The PICES database also includes species reported from the PICES Rapid Assessment Surveys (RAS). PICES sponsored four rapid assessment surveys with the objective of quickly characterizing the native, non-native, and cryptogenic species present in different locations. Surveys were sponsored in Dalian, China in 2008, Jeju, Korea in 2009, Newport, Oregon, USA in 2010, and Peter the Great Bay, near Vladivostok and Nakhodka, Russia in 2011 (, The PICES database contains the RAS species that were made available in time for inclusion. Thus, the database does not capture all the species found in these surveys. In addition, much of the information on the RAS species was provided by the experts conducting the survey, and their distributions, environmental requirements, and life history attributes were not evaluated to the same level of detail by the PICES authors as the North Pacific NIS. In lieu of the more extensive review as conduced with the Atlas species, the information on the RAS species needs to be considered preliminary. Additionally, it is important to use the “Map All Distributions” option (see Section 3.6.6) when mapping their distribution or conducting a query. The general reference for the RAS surveys in the PICES database is “PICES Working Group 21, YEAR SURVEY”.

The overall goal of both the database and Atlas was to simplify and standardize the dissemination of distributional, habitat, and life history characteristics of near-coastal and estuarine nonindigenous species. This database provides a means of querying these data and displaying the information in a consistent format. The specific classes of information the database captures include:

  • Regional and global ranges of native and nonindigenous near-coastal and estuarine species at different hierarchical spatial scales.
  • Habitat and physiological requirements of near-coastal and estuarine species.
  • Life history characteristics of near-coastal and estuarine species.
  • Invasion history and vectors for nonindigenous species.

This standardized and synthesized data in the database and the Atlas provide the basic information needed to address a number of managerial and scientific needs. Thus, users will be able to:

  • Create a baseline on the extent of invasion by region in order to assess new invasions.
  • Use existing geographical patterns of invasion to gain some insights into potential new invaders.
  • Use existing geographical patters of invasion to gain some insights into mechanisms affecting relative invasibility of different areas.
  • Use life history attributes and environmental requirements of the reported nonindigenous species to evaluate traits of invaders.
  • Understand the potential spread of invaders based on their habitat and environmental requirements.
  • Understand importance of different vectors of introduction of nonindigenous species by region.

The data in the Atlas of Nonindigenous Marine and Estuarine Species in the North Pacific (Lee and Reusser, 2012) are up-to-date as of June 2012. Updates to the PICES database were made in September 2012. 

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Other Government Series
Title User’s guide and metada for the PICES Nonindigenous Species Information System
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher U.S. Environmental Protection Agengy
Contributing office(s) Western Fisheries Research Center
Description vii, 112 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details