Back to: Projects

Taxonomic information across the Internet

Second Darwin Initiative Taxonomy Across the Internet Workshop 8, 12 February 1999

The second project workshop on polychaete identification and ecology was held in the Marine Coastal Resource Station at Suksamran District, Ranong Province, 8 to 12 February 1999. 22 researchers and students attended from a variety of institutes and university departments. Among the participants were regional experts Prof Hiroaki Tsutsumi, Prefecture University of Kumamoto, Dr Jian Wen Qui, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology and Ms Lim Yun Ping, from the Bioinformatics Centre of the University of Singapore. The main theme was to develop the identification and taxonomic skills of the participants and share experiences on developing practical approaches to a better understanding of polychaete taxonomy. The workshop consisted of laboratory sessions identifying local material and sessions testing different types of identification keys, including the project on-line system.
There was also a practical session where all participants spent time on a nearby beach sampling for polychaetes.

(Left: Participants sieving sand for polychaetes in the Kampaun River.)

Steady progress was made through the five days and the list of taxa identified grew. Results from the testing of the on-line system suggested a number of modification, which have since been introduced. Also, the workshop found that pictorial and other graphical approaches to key construction worked best to higher taxonomic levels, family and genera, but many participants preferred dichotomous textual keys for species level. This initiated a debate about the problems of using old literature to identify faunas with potentially new species.  

Above: Some of the participants at the Workshop barbecue

Overall the workshop was successful and the outcome suggests that much is still to be done. The main issue facing tropical marine researchers is a chronic lack of up-to date taxonomic analysis. Our thanks go to the staff of the MCRS for all their hard work in organising and supporting the workshop.

Back to the help menu.