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IOC-UNESCO Taxonomic Reference List of Harmful Micro Algae
Moestrup, Ø., Akselman, R., Cronberg, G., Elbraechter, M., Fraga, S., Halim, Y., Hansen, G., Hoppenrath, M., Larsen, J., Lundholm, N., Nguyen, L. N., Zingone, A. (Eds) (2009 onwards). IOC-UNESCO Taxonomic Reference List of Harmful Micro Algae. Available online at Accessed on yyyy-mm-dd

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

A world taxonomic list of harmful micro algae more

This list is a product of the IOC Harmful Algal Bloom Programme and the World Register of Marine Species. The predecessor and basis for this list is the on-line version of the IOC Taxonomic Reference list of Toxic Plankton Algae, which was provided in cooperation with and hosted by the Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen and was completed in early 2002. The cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) will be added when the list of freshwater algae has been completed (mainly blue-green algae).

Problems pertaining to harmful microalgae are being worked on and discussed by many categories of researchers: ecologists, taxonomists, toxicologists, by persons involved in monitoring the environments for harmful effect of toxic algae, by politicians, journalists, etc. It is a source of confusion that the scientific ('Latin') names of the algae sometimes change when the organisms become available for more detailed studies due to improved methodology or after establishment of the organisms in pure cultures, and such changes may give rise to misunderstandings.

This site has the following aims:

  • to provide a catalogue of the world's harmful micro algal species
  • to promote stability in harmful micro algal nomenclature
  • to act as a tool for higher taxonomic revisions and regional monographs
  • to provide a base link for other online databases that use harmful micro algal nomenclature

To provide sufficient expert knowledge for maintaining the list, we have formed an editorial committee to whom the queries on particular taxa should be addressed.

The list contains both species producing toxins and species that cause harm due to biomass, mucus, morphology (spines etc). The names and data on all toxic species appear as WoRMS checked names ( whereas names of harmful species, which potentially can be any plankton species, are not necessarily checked but are always valid names.

The Committee hopes to extend the list during the coming years, to include additional information, including illustrations.

Biology, Biology > Ecology - biodiversity, Biology > Phytoplankton
Marine, Classification, Planktonic algae, Species, Taxonomy, World Waters, Bacillariophyta, Dinoflagellata, Haptophyta, Raphidophyceae

Geographical coverage
World Waters [Marine Regions]

Temporal coverage
From 1758 on [In Progress]

Taxonomic coverage
Bacillariophyta [WoRMS]
Dinoflagellata [WoRMS]
Haptophyta [WoRMS]
Raphidophyceae [WoRMS]


UNESCO; Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC), moredata owner
Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee (VLIZ), moredatabase developer

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

Dataset status: In Progress
Data type: Data
Data origin: Literature research
Metadatarecord created: 2012-07-17
Information last updated: 2013-04-23
All data in IMIS is subject to the VLIZ privacy policy