Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) -  U.S. species occurrence data & maps Explore & download U.S. species occurrence data & maps

Researchers collect species occurrence data, records of an organism at a particular time in a particular place, as a primary or ancillary function of many biological field investigations. Presently, these data reside in numerous distributed systems and formats (including publications) and are consequently not being used to their full potential. As a step toward addressing this challenge, the Core Science Analytics, Synthesis, and Libraries (CSAS&L) program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is developing Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), an integrated and permanent resource for biological occurrence data from the United States. BISON will leverage the accumulated human and infrastructural resources of the long-term USGS investment in research and information management and delivery. Read the DOI Official Press Release in which BISON's public debut was announced.

The USGS CSAS&L program is also the U.S. Node of the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF), an international, government-initiated and funded effort focused on making biodiversity data freely available for scientific research, conservation and sustainable development. USGS CSAS&L, with its partners at the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL), hosts a full mirror of the hundreds of millions of global records to which GBIF provides access. BISON has been initiated with the 110 million records GBIF makes available from the U.S. and is integrating millions more records from other sources each year.

Please send any comments, questions, errors or bugs encountered to bison@usgs.gov

Data Use Agreement
Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON) is committed to providing free and open access to primary species occurrence data. Data currently available through BISON are contributed by various U.S. Federal and State agencies, universities, and non-profit organizations, either directly to BISON or indirectly through their participation in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF). GBIF Participants who have signed the GBIF Memorandum of Understanding have expressed their willingness to make biodiversity data available through their nodes to foster scientific research development internationally and to support the public use of these data. GBIF data sharing should take place within a framework of due attribution. Therefore, using data available through BISON requires agreement with the BISON Data Use Agreement that is displayed prior to a data download.

How to cite data retrieved from BISON:

[Data Provider or Owner name]. [Resource or dataset name] published by [Data Provider name, address or affiliation(s)] (Accessed through Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), http://bison.usgs.ornl.gov, YYYY-MM-DD)

For example:
Field Museum of Natural History. U.S. Bird Occurrences published by Field Museum of Natural History,Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of Washington Burke Museum, andUniversity of Turku (Accessed through Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), http://bison.usgs.ornl.gov, 2007-02-22)

Or

Gordon, J. U.S. Bird Occurrences published by Field Museum of Natural History,Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, University of Washington Burke Museum, andUniversity of Turku (Accessed through Biodiversity Information Serving Our Nation (BISON), http://bison.usgs.ornl.gov, 2007-02-22)

Note: Data Provider Statistics for data retrieval directly from the BISON Solr index are not currently available.
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BISON Statistics

Total Records: 168,063,755
Georeferenced: 159,522,477
Taxa: 354,701
Data Providers: 314
Resources: 1,384

Updated: August 27, 2014
Map of Mountain Maple (Acer spicatum) occurrences, showing that it grows in areas that stay cool in summer.