The Edaphobase project of GBIF-Germany—A new online soil-zoological data warehouse

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Abstract Edaphobase is a non-commercial data warehouse on soil organisms (up to now including Chilopoda, Collembola, Diplopoda, Enchytraeidae, Gamasina, Lumbricidae, Nematoda, Oribatida) integrated in the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) network. Edaphobase combines data on taxonomy, zoogeography and ecology of these organisms in a comprehensive manner. Data are derived from publications, unpublished results of field studies (theses, reports) and collection data from German museums and research institutions. Data types (=entities) comprise up-to-date taxonomic thesauri, geographical references, ecological indices, soil composition, vegetation, meteorological data, sampling and extraction methods, quantity of collected organisms, identification methods, preparation techniques and behavioural data. At present, the focus is on Germany and neighbouring countries, but data from other European countries can be incorporated in the future. Edaphobase offers a wide range of tools for data inclusion (data-input client, GIS-tool, semi-automatic literature analysis) and data exploration. Simple queries are possible as well as more sophisticated analyses of different data groups. Specific examples of exploration of multi-source datasets are presented to illustrate the potential of the system for detailed analyses (i.e., for the elucidation of species-specific habitat preferences, distribution patterns or environmental influences on population densities) with different soil invertebrate groups (i.e., Diplopoda, Nematoda and Collembola).