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BeRMS: Belgian Register of Marine Species [Belgisch register van mariene soorten]
VLIZ Belgian Marine Species Consortium (2010). The Belgian Register of Marine Species. Online available at Consulted on yyyy-mm-dd

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Dedicated website
Availability: Creative Commons License This dataset is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

The Belgian Register of Marine Species (BeRMS) is an authoritative taxonomic list of species occurring in the Belgian part of the North Sea, adjacent estuaries, salt marshes, mud-flats and coastal dunes. more

Although Belgium is the smallest North Sea country with the shortest coastline (± 67 kilometers) and a continental shelf of 3.457 km2, it has a long history of marine research in which scientists try to understand its diversity and complexity.

A first step towards understanding is to obtain an idea of the species diversity within this area, in other words, to establish an inventory of the local marine species.

In 2010, the Flanders Marine Institute undertook efforts to compile a species list for the Belgian marine waters. Information was extracted from already existing initiatives (e.g. TISBE) and a new literature search was started to further complete the Belgian marine list. Additionally, a number of databases containing Belgian marine distribution data were searched for relevant information (Integrated Marine Environmental Readings and Samples, IMERS & the European Ocean Biogeographic Information System, EurOBIS).

The literature search however showed that not all distribution records were trustworthy, leading to the fact that - solely based on literature - there would probably be an overestimation of the number of species present in the Belgian part of the North Sea.

This conclusion lead to an additional quality check, where a whole range of field experts (the Belgian Register of Marine Species consortium) were asked to help verify the geographical spread of all species listed as 'present in the Belgian part of the North Sea' based on literature and to list additions or specific comments such as 'extinct in Belgian marine waters', 'vagrant', … All this additional information is available in the database.

For some species groups, research is very limited within Belgium, leading to geographically unverified species. For these groups, the species list is solely based on literature.

The taxonomical content of BeRMS is controlled by the taxonomic experts of the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), not by database managers. These taxonomic experts are responsible for the quality and content of the different taxonomic groups and ultimately decide whether a species name is valid or not.

This Register only contains the names of species currently or historically occurring in the Belgian part of the North Sea. So far, only species occurring in the marine environment up till (but not including) the coastal dune front.

Future efforts will be undertaken to list all know species of the coastal zone, including the salt marshes, mud flats, dunes and the adjacent brackish areas.

Biology, Biology > Ecology - biodiversity
Marine, Brackish water, Terrestrial, Classification, Registers, Species, Taxonomy, ANE, Belgium, Belgian Coast, ANE, Belgium, Belgian Continental Shelf (BCS), Animalia, Chromista, Fungi, Plantae, Protozoa

Geographical coverage
ANE, Belgium, Belgian Coast [Marine Regions]
ANE, Belgium, Belgian Continental Shelf (BCS) [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
From 1758 on [In Progress]

Taxonomic coverage
Animalia [WoRMS]
Chromista [WoRMS]
Fungi [WoRMS]
Plantae [WoRMS]
Protozoa [WoRMS]


Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ), moredatabase developerdata manager

Related datasets
Published in:
WoRMS: World Register of Marine Species, more

BeRMS: Belgian Register of Marine & Coastal Species, more

Based on this dataset:
Vandepitte, L. et al. (Ed.) (2010). Belgian Register of Marine Species, compiled and validated by the VLIZ Belgian Marine Species Consortium. VLIZ Special Publication, 46. Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ): Oostende. ISBN 978-90-812900-8-1. 78 pp., more
(2010). Online inventaris van leven in Belgische Noordzee. Natuur.Focus 9(4): 179, more

Dataset status: In Progress
Data type: Data
Data origin: Literature research
Metadatarecord created: 2010-08-18
Information last updated: 2013-04-23
All data in IMIS is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy