The phylum Brachiopoda is a group of lophophorate organisms which have in the past frequently been classed with the phoronids and bryozoans in the phylum Lophophorata. The brachiopods are well represented in the fossil record, and have a long evolutionary history; there are many thousand fossil species known, but only about 300 living species. Their systematics have thus primarily been the province of paleontologists, and the resulting classification, reflecting the complex phylogeny of the group, is based on the large amount of descriptive work available on both fossil and recent species. The classification used in this checklist follows Ryland (1990) who provides good illustrations and descriptions of many of the British species.
This project has not been able to compile a list of living marine brachiopods for Europe. However, the list produced for Britain, Ireland and adjacent seas by Howson (1997) is considered a valuable starting point. This is the provided here. Indeed, it includes all the species recorded for Norwegian waters by Thomsen and Brattegard (1996).
The taxonomy of recent brachiopods and the species known from the British Isles have changed little since Brunton & Curry (1979), and the checklist is therefore based on this publication.
- Brunton, C.H.C. & Curry, G.B. 1979. British Brachiopods. Synopses of the British Fauna (N.S.). No. 17. 64 pp. Linnean Society, London and E.B.S.A. Academic Press, London.
- Curry, G.B. 1982. Ecology and population structure of the recent brachipod Terebratulina from Scotland. Palaeontology 25(2), 227 - 246.
- Curry, G.B. 1983. Ecology of the recent deep water rhynchonellid brachiopod Cryptopora from the Rockall Trough. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 44, 93 - 102.
- Lee & Brunton, C.H.C. 1986. Neocrania n. gen., and a revision of Cretaceous - recent brachiopod genera in the family Craniidae. Bulletin of the British Museum of Natural History (Geol.) 40(4), 141 - 160.
- Ryland, J.S. 1990. Lophophorate phyla. In: The marine fauna of the Britsh Isles and North West Europe. P.J. Hayward & J. S. Ryland, eds, 2: 794-838, Clarendon Press, Oxford.
- Thomsen, E. & Brattegard T. 1997. Brachiopoda. In: Brattegard T. and Holthue T., Distribution of marine, benthic macro-organisms in Norway. Research Report for DN 1997-1, Directorate for Nature Management, 296-297 pp.