BeRMS 2020 - an innovative census of the Belgian marine biodiversity | Flanders Marine Institute

Flanders Marine Institute

Platform for marine research

BeRMS 2020 - an innovative census of the Belgian marine biodiversity

The Belgian part of the North Sea is a very species-rich environment, but this species richness is insufficiently known to date. Although many of the species are yet known to science, their identification remains an important bottleneck in ecological research and biodiversity policy. Therefore, we launch the project 'BeRMS 2020 – an innovative census of the Belgian marine biodiversity' to provide the existing Belgian Register of Marine Species (BeRMS) with a major update by 2020.

This project includes methodological research, scientific sampling and analysis of recent databases, including molecular data. It may also give rise to additional research to test hypotheses regarding extinctions, migration of species and shifts in biodiversity.

In a first phase of the project, we focus on research that leads to accurate and time- and cost-efficient characterization of marine species communities. In close cooperation with taxonomic experts, we want to conduct research into automation and improvement of species identification using state-of-the-art visualization and genotyping methods. In doing so, we ensure knowledge building at VLIZ and participating Belgian Marine Research Groups and to connect to existing international networks.

Contact VLIZ for more information on this reseach project: Leen Vandepitte, Pascal Hablützel en Michiel Vandegehuchte