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Keys & Guides

In order to carry out deep-sea biological research – in particular biodiversity research, the identification of deep-sea taxa is required. There is a problem with accessing the resources required to identify these taxa, with keys and guides for identification often old /out of print or difficult to find. There are also numerous online resources available – the biggest problem is knowing where to look. Such a task will often require a great deal of time and effort in research to locate the most up-to date or useful resources for the different deep-sea taxa. In many cases no key to the species will even exist and this task will then involve going back to original descriptions and illustrations.

We aim to create a comprehensive list of the available identification resources for deep-sea taxa (online keys, monographs and papers) that will be made available through this web portal. This is an ongoing project until December 2013.

This will be an invaluable tool for marine scientists seeking to identify material. By linking these resources to an authoritative and updated name database (WoRMS) we maintain a consistent taxonomy.

Identification resources will be linked to each WoRDDS/WoRMS taxon pages in the sources field as an ‘identification resource’ See the following taxon page as an example

Here there are two identification resources, one of which is open access and therefore freely available for download by clicking the link.

By linking these resources to WoRMS the database will become an easy way for non-specialists to locate the most useful references, keys & guides that for identification of a particular taxon and will better serve the taxonomic user community.

Initially the taxa that are most commonly sampled and most difficult to identify in the deep sea will be prioritised e.g. some taxa such as the Polychaeta and Crustacea are commonly sampled in the deep-sea and create most difficulties with identification.

The experts and users know their own field best so if you know of a key or guide that is not yet linked on WoRMS/WoRDDS please email tammy.horton@noc.ac.uk.

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