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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 240175, 11 pages
Review Article

The World Bacterial Biogeography and Biodiversity through Databases: A Case Study of NCBI Nucleotide Database and GBIF Database

1Microbiology Group, Laboratory of Cellular and Molecular Biology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, USTHB, BP 32, EL ALIA, Bab Ezzouar, Algiers, Algeria
2Environmental Microbiology, School of Life Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK

Received 14 March 2013; Revised 11 July 2013; Accepted 13 August 2013

Academic Editor: Konstantinos Mavrommatis

Copyright © 2013 Okba Selama et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Databases are an essential tool and resource within the field of bioinformatics. The primary aim of this study was to generate an overview of global bacterial biodiversity and biogeography using available data from the two largest public online databases, NCBI Nucleotide and GBIF. The secondary aim was to highlight the contribution each geographic area has to each database. The basis for data analysis of this study was the metadata provided by both databases, mainly, the taxonomy and the geographical area origin of isolation of the microorganism (record). These were directly obtained from GBIF through the online interface, while E-utilities and Python were used in combination with a programmatic web service access to obtain data from the NCBI Nucleotide Database. Results indicate that the American continent, and more specifically the USA, is the top contributor, while Africa and Antarctica are less well represented. This highlights the imbalance of exploration within these areas rather than any reduction in biodiversity. This study describes a novel approach to generating global scale patterns of bacterial biodiversity and biogeography and indicates that the Proteobacteria are the most abundant and widely distributed phylum within both databases.