DeepIso - a global open database of stable isotope ratios and elemental contents for deep-sea ecosystems

Date 2021-08-17
Temporal extent 1985 -2018
Author(s) Michel Loïc N.ORCID1, Bell James B.ORCID2, Dubois Stanislas F.ORCID3, Le Pans Mathilde1, Lepoint GillesORCID4, Olu KarineORCID1, Reid William D. K.ORCID5, Sarrazin JozeeORCID1, Schaal GauthierORCID6, Hayden BrianORCID7
Contributor(s) Carlier AntoineORCID, Demopoulos Amanda W. J.ORCID, Marticorena JulienORCID, McClain-Counts Jennifer P.ORCID, Methou PierreORCID, Parzanini CamillaORCID, Pradillon FlorenceORCID, Puccinelli EleonoraORCID, Riekenberg Philip M.ORCID, Van Audenhaege LoicORCID, Van Dover Cindy LeeORCID, Van Oevelen DickORCID, Woulds ClareORCID, Cresson PierreORCID, Alfaro Lucas Joan ManelORCID, Le Bourg BaptisteORCID
Affiliation(s) 1 : Ifremer, REM/EEP, F-29280 Plouzané, France
2 : Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Lowestoft, United Kingdom
3 : Ifremer, ODE/DYNECO, F-29280 Plouzané, France
4 : Laboratory of Oceanology, Freshwater and Oceanic Sciences Unit of reSearch (FOCUS), University of Liège, Liège, Belgium
5 : Modelling, Evidence and Policy, School of Natural and Environmental Sciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, United Kingdom
6 : Université de Bretagne Occidentale, CNRS, IRD, Ifremer, LEMAR, Plouzané, France
7 : Biology Department, Canadian Rivers Institute, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada
DOI 10.17882/76595
Publisher SEANOE
Keyword(s) stable isotope, elemental content, carbon, nitrogen, sulfur, ecology, trophic interactions, food webs, open data, hydrothermal vent, cold seep, cold water coral, deep sea

The use of stable isotopes as ecological tracers in deep-sea ecosystems has a long history, dating back to the late 1970’s. Stable isotopes have been instrumental to many key-findings about ecosystem functioning, particularly in chemosynthesis-based habitats (hydrothermal vents, cold seeps). However, constraining sampling logistics commonly limit the scope, extent, and therefore insights drawn from isotope-based deep-sea studies. Overall, much is left to discover about factors globally influencing food web structure in deep-sea ecosystems. In this context, deep-sea ecologists have to ensure that no sample is left unexploited, and that all generated data are easily discoverable, available and reusable.

DeepIso is a collaborative effort to produce a global compilation of stable isotope ratios and elemental contents in organisms from deep-sea ecosystems. In doing so, it aims to provide the deep-sea community with an open data analysis tool that can be used in the context of future ecological research, and to help deep-sea researchers to use stable isotope markers at their full efficiency. More info about the project can be found at

As of v2 (2021/08/12), the database contains 18 distinct datasets, for a total of 38335 fully documented measurements. Archived parameters currently include δ13C (n = 7690), δ15N (n = 7491), δ34S (n = 3266), %C (n = 5753), %N (n = 5614), %S (n = 3342) and C/N ratio (n = 5719). Those measurements pertain to 7248 distinct samples belonging to 881 taxa, plus sediments, suspended particulate organic matter, plankton, and detritus. Samples were taken between 1989 and 2018 in multiple environments (hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, cold water coral reefs, and other benthic or pelagic environments) and at depths ranging up to 5338 meters.

The database consists of two files: one containing the data itself, and one describing all used terms (measurements or metadata, derived from Darwin Core standards,


Version log : 

v002 - 2021/08/12. Annual update. 18 datasets, 38335 measurements in 8041 unique entries pertaining to 7248 distinct samples from 881 taxons. 7 parameters archived: d13C (n = 7690), d15N (n = 7491), d34S (n = 3266), %C (n = 5753), %N (n = 5614), %S (n = 3342), C/N ratio (n = 5719). Temporal coverage: 1989-2018. Spatial coverage: -76.7148° to 66.98283° latitude, -177.18503° to 162.2009° longitude. Max depth: 5338 m.

v001 - 2020/10/22. Initial release of the database. 15 datasets, 18677 measurements in 4938 unique entries pertaining to 4378 distinct samples from 493 taxons. 7 parameters archived: d13C (n = 4587), d15N (n = 4388), d34S (n = 951), %C (n = 2740), %N (n = 2741), %S (n = 752), C/N ratio (n = 2518). Temporal coverage: 1985-2018. Spatial coverage: -62.1924° to 66.98283° latitude, -177.18503° to 152.105227° longitude. Max depth: 5029 m.

Licence CC-BY
Utilisation DeepIso is freely and openly accessible for all, under Creative Commons CC BY 4.0 licence. The only usage requirement is that users give credit where credit is due, and explicitly cite the database as well as the original datasets they use (clearly identified by their DOIs in the database) in research products (publications, presentations, reports, etc.) derived from the database. Moreover, if the intended research heavily relies on one or several archived datasets, we strongly encourage users to contact the investigators originally responsible for data acquisition (also clearly identified in the database) to inform them and/or invite them to take part in the intended research. Finally, we encourage users to disseminate research products derived from the database as openly as possible, in accordance with the FAIR principles (
Acknowledgements This work is supported by the “Laboratoire d’excellence” LabexMER (ANR-10-LABX-19) and co-funded by a grant from the French government under the program “Investissements d’avenir”.
File Size Format Processing Access Key
168 KB CSV Quality controlled data Access on demand 87113
Data and Term description (Version 002) 306 KB CSV Quality controlled data Open access 87114
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How to cite 

Michel Loïc N., Bell James B., Dubois Stanislas F., Le Pans Mathilde, Lepoint Gilles, Olu Karine, Reid William D. K., Sarrazin Jozee, Schaal Gauthier, Hayden Brian (2021). DeepIso - a global open database of stable isotope ratios and elemental contents for deep-sea ecosystems. SEANOE.