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Biological and chemical marine data: BioChem database

Learn about the Biological and Chemical Marine Data System (BioChem), how to use it and how to cite it.

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About BioChem

BioChem is an archive of marine biological and chemical data maintained by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO). It holds biological and chemical data that are:

  • from department research initiatives
  • collected in areas of Canadian interest

The data held in BioChem are divided into 2 functional areas, which are:

  1. discrete data, usually from water bottle sampling, including:
    • pH
    • nutrients
    • chlorophyll
    • dissolved oxygen
  2. plankton data, usually from towed nets, including:
    • species counts
    • biomass measurements

While the data support climate research, they may also be used for other purposes. These include improving our understanding of ecosystem variability, ground-truthing satellite data, and supporting fisheries research.

Using BioChem

Users must register to use BioChem. You must login through GCKey to request an account.

Once you have your account information, you may use the:

Service interruption

We've identified content-related issues after an internal review of Maritimes Region BioChem data.

The affected data will be unavailable until we can complete further reviews. We'll make the data available again to BioChem query users as we review each dataset and address the issues.

If you require data loaded by Maritimes Region (generally the Northwest Atlantic), email Provide details, including geographic coordinates and temporal limits.

We'll review requests and provide data whenever possible.

BioChem citation

To cite BioChem, use:

DFO [current year]. BioChem: database of biological and chemical oceanographic data. Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada. Database accessed on [insert date here]

In your reference list, also include:

Devine, L., M.K. Kennedy, I. St-Pierre, C. Lafleur, M. Ouellet, and S. Bond. 2014. BioChem: the Fisheries and Oceans Canada database for biological and chemical data. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 3073: iv + 40 pp.

Contact us

For assistance, send an email to


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