The Ocean Observatories Initiative (OOI) through its Cyberinfrastructure (CI) Implementing Organization is developing a next generation platform for ocean sciences that will integrate a wide variety of information resources at scales unattainable before in the earth and ocean sciences. We introduce a novel scientific data model that enables distributed, large-scale storage and query of science data. Our model is built on multiple levels of abstraction ranging from domain-specific at the top down to encodings for message-oriented transport and persistence at the base. The key is exposing the properties of scientific feature types separately from the underlying structure of the data, which in turn is separated from their representation. The data representation is further isolated from the serialization and encoding used for transport and persistence. Our model greatly simplifies expressions of provenance and versioning of various data entities. It is robust, scalable and reliable. We implemented it for the first release of the OOI Integrated Observatory Network (ION), with rollout to operations currently underway.