MarBEF Data System

The European Register of Marine Species

What is ERMS

The European Register of Marine Species (ERMS) is an authoritative taxonomic list of species occurring in the European marine environment, defined as up to the strandline or splash zone above the high tide mark and down to 0.5 (psu, ppt) salinity in estuaries. The register is actively maintained and daily updated in the framework of the MarBEF EU Network of Excellence by a board of taxonomic editors, which are world experts on the taxonomy of their relevant taxa. It is anticipated that the Register will become a standard reference (and technological tool) for marine biodiversity training, research and management in Europe.

ERMS is served from a relational database. The most recent version of the data will always be available through this search interface. At regular intervals, a snapshot of the database will be archived; these archive copies will be kept available through the ERMS web site.

ERMS logo

   ERMS Latest additions

ERMS Web News

In order to keep you up to date about the ERMS developments, an 'ERMS Web News' is sent to the ERMS Associate and Review Editors, or anyone interested in development of ERMS. Please contact us at if you want to subscribe to the ERMS Web News

Scope of ERMS

The project covers species of the kingdoms Animalia, Plantae, Fungi and Protoctista occurring in the marine environment. Bacteria and marine viruses are not included. The area covered by the project is all the continental shelf seas of Europe, from the Canaries and Azores to Greenland and north west Russia, including the Mediterranean shelf, Baltic Seas and deep-sea areas. Click here to view the map covered by ERMS.


People interested, especially those with expertise in marine taxa, are invited to contact the co-ordinator or other participants to get on the project circulation list. Also relevant ecological information and pictures of taxa, listed in ERMS, are more than welcome. Approved editors of species lists are able to access ERMS online, such that the register will be changing according to need and editorial diligence. Simultaneously, the name of the editor and the revision date for each species or taxon is shown.

Download database

We see the web interface as the main means of access to information in the ERMS database. However, in some cases this web interface might be too limited, especially for those building off-line applications. If you want to get an electronic copy of the ERMS database, please contact the Database Management Team.

History of ERMS

The European Register of Marine Species (ERMS) was created in 1998 by a project funded under the European Union MAST research programme. It resulted in a species list for European marine waters. This first version has been published as a book (Costello et al, 2001).

ERMS Editorial Board

The editorial board of ERMS consists of an Executive Commitee and Associate Editors. Each taxonomic group is represented by an Associate editor, responsible for the quality and content of large taxonomic groups. Associate editors can appoint review editors who are responsible for smaller phyla and families.