Working Group on Integrated Morphological and Molecular Taxonomy (WGIMT)

Elaine Fileman (Editor), Jasmin Renz (Editor), Ian Salter

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The ICES Working Group on Integrated Morphological and Molecular Taxonomy (WGIMT) met online 09 June 2022. The meeting was chaired by Elaine Fileman (UK) and Jasmin Renz (Germany) and was attended by 22 scientists representing 11 countries. During the meeting, WGIMT members reviewed progress on multi-annual ToRs, reports, and recommendations, evaluated progress on existing ToRs and sought opportunities for partnerships in the ICES science community. WGIMT membership currently totals 63 members from 19 countries; new members were added again this year, continuing the steady increase in membership numbers each year since 2013. This trend is consistent with WGIMT goals to enhance our capacity for developing and using morphological and molecular approaches to taxonomic analysis of zooplankton.

Extensive progress has been made in the identification of challenging zooplankton taxa in the ICES area (including hidden diversity associated with cryptic, rare, and invasive species and species delimitation) by performing a meta-analysis in cooperation with the Working Group on Zooplankton Ecology (WGZE) on the most abundant taxa from 19 monitoring stations based on expert knowledge from the respective sites (ToR A). A review that aims to provide condensed up to date information on these important taxa, pinpoints important species complexes as well as the identification issues for these key taxa, and evaluates the relevance of potentially hidden diversity or non-accessible diversity for ecosystem and time-series studies is planned for autumn 2022.

The WGIMT web platform has been updated (ToR B), it will continue to be expanded as WGIMT continues into the future. In strong partnership with SCOR WG 157 (MetaZooGene), the WGIMT/MetaZooGene Barcode Atlas and Database was launched and a link implemented into the platform. This Atlas summarizes the geographic distribution and barcoding status of zooplankton species in the ICES North Atlantic subregion, the Baltic Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea.

WGIMT continued to initiate and support provision of standards, preparation of training materials, and organization of formal workshops (ToR C) and made lectures given during the first Advanced Zooplankton Course (Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn, MOTax, October 2018) on morphological and molecular taxonomy of copepods available on the WGIMT portal.

WGIMT promoted and encouraged the continuing integration of molecular and morphological taxonomy by organizing special sessions at national and international conferences, including the ASLO 2021 Aquatic Sciences Meeting and the 13th International Conference on Copepoda. During 2020–2022, WGIMT members published at least 9 relevant peer-reviewed articles directly related to the core mission and goals of the EG. A special journal issue in the ICES Journal of Marine Science entitled: Patterns of biodiversity of marine zooplankton based on molecular analysis, was organized by member Ann Bucklin and colleagues, who also wrote an overview and introduction for the special issue. In all, 15 manuscripts were included in the special issue (, of which 4 were co-authored by WGIMT members.

WGIMT has s strong partnership with SCOR WG 157 (MetaZooGene) and collaborated closely with WGZE, the Working Group on Phytoplankton and Microbial Ecology (WGPME) and the Working Group entitled Towards a European Observatory of the non-indigenous calanoid copepod Pseudodiaptomus marinus (WGEUROBUS) on joint session proposals and a ToR to expand the WGIMT/ MetaZooGene Barcode Atlas to include genetic information on Phyto- and Microzooplankton
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationCopenhagen, Denmark
Commissioning bodyICES
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)2618-1371
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2022

Publication series

NameICES Scientific Reports


  • ICES
  • Microbes
  • Faroe Islands
  • Metabarcoding


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