Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning
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[ Overview ][ Objectives ][ Spreading Of Excellence ][ Partners ][ Associated Partners ][ Committees ][ Project Management ][ Data Management ][ Taxonomic Clearing System ][ Quality Assurance ][ Training ] [ Outreach ][ SMEs ][ Theme 1 Global Patterns ][ Theme 2 Ecosystem Functioning ][ Theme 3 Socio-economics ]

Taxonomic Clearing System

We recognise the need for a Taxonomic Clearing System scheme to address the taxonomic/identification bottleneck and to streamline the process of identification of specimens and the description of new species. The emphasis of the research components of this network on field sampling and ecological analysis will naturally result in the processing of large volumes of material, and in the discovery of new, rare, or newly introduced species. The steering committee of MarBEF will create and fund a pilot system for the prioritisation of identification/description requests and for directly funding the necessary work. This will be an important focal point for the interactions between the taxonomic and ecological researchers within MarBEF.

Objectives
Inventories of species, communities and ecosystems are central to the success of the strategic research programme in MarBEF. They provide important baseline data that underpin any thorough assessment of the changes in biodiversity in response to global change, whether natural or anthropogenic. The emphasis of the research components of this network on field sampling and ecological analysis will naturally result in the processing of large volumes of material, and the discovery of new, rare, or newly introduced species. MarBEF needs a system by which European marine ecologists can gain rapid access to problem-solving taxonomic expertise. We will create a fast-track 'taxonomy clearing system' to address the taxonomic/identification bottleneck and to streamline the processes of identification of specimens and the description of new species. If the experimental ecologists encounter problematic species in their field experiments, or if species new to Europe (introduced species) or new to science are found, the 'taxonomy clearing system' will expedite the necessary taxonomic work. It will work as a middle agent, receiving requests for taxonomic work to be completed and matching these requests to available taxonomic expertise across the MarBEF community. It will also provide access to the specialist feedback required for updating of species inventory lists for the selected sites in theme 1 flagship project. This clearing system will also be an important focal point for the interactions between the taxonomic and ecological researchers within MarBEF. It will not function as a simple identification service.

Description of work

Task 1: The available taxonomic expertise was quantified by the European Register of Marine Species concerted action and is available on the web. This register of expertise will be updated via the MarBEF website and through personal contacts.

Task 2: We will establish a small committee consisting of both taxonomists and ecologists to act as an efficient system for processing and prioritising these requests.

Task 3: This committee will draw up the set of criteria for prioritising identification/description/taxonomic requests.

Task 4: Once requests have been prioritised, then taxonomists will be contacted and contracted to undertake the necessary taxonomic work. A budget is required to purchase taxonomists' time and to pay for the description of high priority, newly discovered species.

 
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Erasmus Mundus Master of Science in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation (EMBC)
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Responsive Mode Programme (RMP) - Marie Nordstrom, copyright Aspden Rebecca

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ERMS 2.0
Epinephelus marginatus Picture: JG Harmelin

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