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Table of Contents for this page

Table of Contents


The goal of this page is to help you get started with retrieving data from BioData, the USGS aquatic bioassessment database. There are three retrieval steps to accomplish this task:


The USGS BioData Retrieval provides access to aquatic bioassessment data (biological community and physical habitat data) collected by USGS scientists from stream ecosystems across the nation.

STEP 1: Select Filter Criteria

Filter criteria are arranged in sections (for example, Geographic Location; Temporal; Biological Community/Data Type and Sample Type). The combination of filters from each section creates a "filter set" (combination of criteria) that refines the data set to meet your needs.

  1. Choose a filter or filters from one of more section, usually by selecting a radio button
  2. If presented with a list of options (e.g. Biological Community), move the option(s) you want from the "Available" to "Selected" pane, by: (a) Dragging and dropping, (b) Highlighting then clicking the "Add" button, or (c) double clicking the option.
    1. For each filter, specify your criteria:
  3. As you set your filter criteria, the Number of Samples Returnedat the top of the screen is updated automatically and is shown below the "Next" button.
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2 until all options of interest are "Selected"
  5. Optionally you may save your filter set using "Save Filter Set" button in the top right-hand area of the selection pane; this saved filter set can be sent to colleagues or uploaded and re-used or refined as needed
  6. When your filters are set, click the "Next" button located at either the top or bottom left-hand region of the pane to go to the Select Data Set(s) page.

STEP 2: Select Data Set(s)

The data sets available from the BioData retrieval system are presented in two tables.


The lower table lists other potential data sets with no records matching the criteria you set...


STEP 3: Preview and Download

Use this page to Preview and Download the data set(s) that you selected on the previous page:


Select format criteria for downloading data sets (excel, delimited text of XML)

Data Retrieval Details/Features

This section provides some details about the data retrieval system and data retrieval tips.


  • When combining data from different protocols be aware that similar named columns could represent very different data types or differently named columns could represent very similar data
  • When combining taxonomic data from different laboratories be sure and verify the laboratory procedures
  • Always know your metadata that comes with each data set you are working with

BioData Taxonomy

The system reports taxonomy in a standardized and harmonized taxonomic system using what we call the BioData Taxon Name and the Published Taxon Name - synonymy is resolved for you.


Bench Taxon Name

BioData Taxon Name


Nixe criddlei

Ecdyonurus criddlei

Ecdyonurus criddlei

Caudatella californica

Caudatella heterocaudata californica

Caudatella heterocaudata californica

Seratella molita




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