Online Identification Guides, Academic Research Sites and Papers

Welcome to the Seashore Pages for links to research papers and Institutions. It is fundamentally to act as a resource for anyone who wants help finding information on any specific areas of interest cocerning the sea and shore. It is with help from Dr Mike Kendall that this page has come in to being, for all those who are Seashore Surveyors, Mike will be familiar to you as our project survey verifier.

This is also where any research, submitted to the Project by our Seashore Surveyors, will be shown and shared with our surveying community.

Most journals require a subscription if a user is to download scientific articles. In some cases individual workers or their institutions have made arrangements whereby members of the public can access .pdf copies of their papers. As a first line of enquiry it is a good idea to search for a topic using Google Scholar

Research Institutions

Some UK and European marine laboratories have sections of their website where digests of their science are publicly available. These organisation may also have a publications list that includes downloadable manuscripts. Only a small proportion of papers are likely to be of interest to the non-specialist.

Plymouth Marine Laboratory. This is the biggest inshore marine laboratory in UK it is multidisciplinary but research on community ecology and ocean acidification will be if particular interest.

The Marine Biological Association of U.K. is one of the oldest marine laboratories in Europe and have a strong team working on climate change impacts.

Scottish Association for Marine Science is the major marine laboratory in Scotland and has an excellent group of ecologists.

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) undertakes integrated ocean research and technology development from the coast to the deep ocean.

Centre for Environment, Fisheries & Aquaculture Science their capability covers shelf sea dynamics, climate effects on the marine environment, ecosystems and food security.

There is an excellent record in shallow water and intertidal research at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research, NIOZ . The institute publishes papers in English. The Ryan Institute of the University of Galway and the University Of Cork do similar work.


Government Agencies

Joint Nature Conservation Committee JNCC is the public body that advises the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK-wide and international nature conservation. Originally established under the Environmental Protection Act 1990, JNCC was reconstituted by the Natural Environment and Rural Communities (NERC) Act 2006 .

Scottish Natural Heritage SNH (Scottish Gaelic: Dualchas Nàdair na h-Alba) is a Scottish public body. It is responsible for Scotland's natural heritage, especially its natural, genetic and scenic diversity. It advises the Scottish Government and acts as a government agent in the delivery of conservation designations, i.e. National Nature Reserves, Local Nature Reserves, Long Distance Routes, National Parks, Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), Special Areas of Conservation, Special Protection Areas and the National Scenic Area.

SNH is also a member of SEARS (Scotland's Environmental and Rural Services)


The University of Newcastle upon Tyne has some excellent researchers and teaches some highly popular courses.

The School of Ocean Sciences (SOS) of the University of Bangor is an actively seagoing research institution with a high reputation for the quality of its research on shelf seas and shallow marine environments.

Similarly high quality research takes place at Southampton , and Liverpool.

Identification Websites

A number of websites exist that are used by non-specialists for the identification of marine species. None are complete and up to date; furthermore many use photographs for identification. In the majority of marine intertidal species a photograph does not satisfy professional standards for identification unless it figures key anatomical features; these may be microscopic. The only way to be certain of a species identification is a point by point comparison with a written description. Photographs can be useful and to be certain of genus can mean that a site can be flagged up for further surveying and are certianly of use to the amateur surveyor.

The Marine Species Identification Portal
This site offers information on thousands of different species in the world's oceans and seas.

The aim of a World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is to provide an authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms, including information on synonymy. While highest priority goes to valid names, other names in use are included so that this register can serve as a guide to interpret taxonomic literature.

The Marine Life Information Network (MarLIN) was set up to support marine planning decisions in UK waters and has excellent ecological information on many of our most common species. It is not a complete identification resource. The high quality pictures on the site are supported by identification information.

iSpot ( is a website aimed at helping anyone identify anything in nature. It’s far from complete and as the identifications are all photo based it has to be treated with considerable caution. It is a good way to find approximately the right page of a field guide

World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS)
The aim of a World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is to provide an authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms, including information on synonymy. While highest priority goes to valid names, other names in use are included so that this register can serve as a guide to interpret taxonomic literature.

Classification of Marine Habitats
A classification system for marine habitats provides a useful tool for managing and conserving marine biodiversity. In Britain and Ireland we have two compatible classification schemes.

Linnean Society Synopses of the British Fauna 
Suitable for more experienced users, each Synopsis of the British Fauna provides a detailed account of a group of animals. Produced on behalf of the Linnean Society. Buy from Field studies Council

Field Studies Council  AIDGAP Guides

These are great guides to start out with. Please note that prices are from beginning of September 2014 and are liable to change over time.

Title Code Year Author Price
A key to the crabs and crab-like animals of the British inshore waters. 155 1983 Crothers&Crothers £7.50
Field key to the shore fishes of the British isles 225 1994 Wheeler £6.00
A key to the major groups of British marine invertebrates 246 1997 Crothers £11.50
A field key to the British brown seaweeds 125 1979 Hiscock £6.00
A key to the crabs and crab-like animals of the british inshore waters 155 1983 Crothers&Crothers £7.50

Seaweeds Guides, Keys, Papers and Web Sites

Many thanks to Dr Clare Scanlan of SEPA for this list. Some of the older texts are out of print and out of date for the scientific names. Useing more than one text can help get you to the right seaweed, especially as some keys depend on sexual characteristics.

Key identification works

Brodie, J.A. & Irvine, L.M. 2003. Seaweeds of the British Isles Vol.1 Rhodophyta, Part 3B Bangiophycidae. Natural History Museum, Publ. Intercept, London

Brodie, J., Maggs, C.A. and John, D.M. (editors) 2007. Green Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland. Publ. British Phycological Society

Burrows, E.M. 1991. Seaweeds of the British Isles Vol.2 Chlorophyta.  Natural History Museum Publications, London.

Chamberlain, Y. 1993. Seaweeds of the British Isles vol.1 Rhodophyta. Part 2b Corallinales

Christensen, T. 1987.  Seaweeds of the British Isles Vol.4 Tribophyceae.  Natural History Museum Publications, London.

Dixon, P.S. & Irvine, L.M. 1978.  Seaweeds of the British Isles Vol.1 Rhodophyta Part 1 Introduction, Nemaliales, Gigartinales. Natural History Museum Publications, London.  (From NHBS)

Eifion Jones, W. 1962. A key to the Genera of the British Seaweeds.  Field Studies, Vol.1, No.4, 1-32.

Fletcher, R.L. 1987  Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol 3 Fucophyceae (Phaeophyceae) Part 1. British Museum (Natural History), London.

Hiscock,S. 1979. A Field Key to the British Brown Seaweeds (Phaeophyta). Field Studies 5: 1-44.

Hiscock,S. 1986. A Field Key to the British Red Seaweeds. Occasional Publication No.13. Field Studies Council, 101 pp[CS1] .

Irvine, L.M. 1983. Seaweeds of the British Isles Vol.1 Rhodophyta Part 2A Cryptonemiales, Palmariales, Rhodymeniales.  Natural History Museum Publications, London.

Irvine L.M. and Chamberlain, Y.M. 1994. Seaweeds of the British Isles. Vol 1 Rhodophyta. Part 2B Corallinales, Hildenbrandiales. The Natural History Museum, London.

Maggs, C.A. & Hommersand, M.H. 1993. Seaweeds of the British Isles Vol.1 Rhodophyta Part3a Ceramiales.  Natural History Museum Publications, London.

Newton, L. 1931.  A Handbook of the British Seaweeds.  BM(NH), London.

Wells, E.  2007.  A field Guide to the British Seaweeds. Environment Agency, England and


Useful general texts

Braune, W. & Guiry, M. 2011  Seaweeds: A colour guide to common benthic green, brown and red algae of the world’s oceans. Gantner Verlag, 601pp.

Bunker,F., Brodie,J., Maggs C. & Bunker,A. 2010.  Seasearch Guide to Seaweeds of Britain and Ireland  Marine Conservation Society, Ross-on-Wye

Cabioc’h, J., Floc’h, J.-Y., Le Toquin, A., Boudouresque, C.-F., Meinesz, A. and Verlaque, M. 2006. Guide des algues des mers d’Europe. Delachaux et Niestlé SA, Paris.

Clokie, J.P. & Boney, A.D. 1980.  Green algae of the Firth of Clyde Key to attached Chlorophyceae and some Xanthophyceae.  Scottish Field Studies, 2, 13-33.

Coppejans, E. & Kling, R. 1995.  Flore algologique des cotes du Nord de la France at de la Belgique.  Scripta Botanica Belgica, 9. Jardin Botanique National de Belgique: Meise. ISBN 90-72619-16-1, 454pp.

Dickenson, C.I. 1963. British Seaweeds  Kew Series, London, Eyre & Spottiswoode (Out of print)

Gayral, P. 1966. Les Algues des Côtes Francaises (Manche et Atlantique).  Koeltz.

Kornmann, P. and Sahling, P.-H. 1977. Meersalgen von Helgoland. Benthische Grün-, Braun- und Rotalgen.  Biologische Anstalt Helgoland, Hamburg.

Kornmann, P. & Sahling, P.-H. 1983.  Meeresalgen von Helgoland: Ergänzung  Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen, 36, 1-65

Kornmann, P. & Sahling, P.-H. 1994. Meeresalgen von Helgoland: Zweite Ergänzung  Helgoländer Meeresuntersuchungen, 48, 365-406.

Pankow,H. 1971. Algenflora der Ostsee. I. benthos (Blau-, Grün-, Braun- unde Rotalgen). Gustav Fishcer Verlag, Stuttgart

Taylor, W.R. 1957. Marine Algae of the North Eastern coast of North America. Ann Arbor, The University of Michigan Press, 2nd Edition.


Specialist identification works

Bliding, C. 1963.  A critical Survey of European Taxa in Ulvales, Part I Capsosiphon, Percursaria, Blidingia, Enteromorpha.  Opera Botanica, 8(3).

Bliding, C. 1968.  A critical Survey of European Taxa in Ulvales, Part II Ulva, Ulvaria, Kornmannia, Monostroma. Botaniska Notiser, 121, 553-629.

Brown, H. & Wilkinson, M. 2012.  Pictures to help with identification of Fucus species from the British Isles.

Carter, N. 1932. Comparative study of algal flora of two saltmarshes  J.Ecol., 341-370

Carter, N. 1933. Comparative study of algal flora of two saltmarshes  J.Ecol., 21, 128-208 ; 385-403.

Koeman, R. & van den Hoek, C. 1980. The taxonomy of Ulva (Chlorophyceae) in the Netherlands. Br. phycol. J., 16, 9-53.

Koeman, R. & van den Hoek, C. The taxonomy of Enteromorpha. Link 1920 (Chlorophyceae) in the Netherlands.

1982. I. Arch. Hydrobiol. Suppl., 63, 279-330

1982. II Cryptogamie Algol., 3, 37-70.

1984. III. Cryptogamie Algol., 5, 21-61.

Lokhorst, G.M. & Trask, B.J. 1981. Taxonomic studies on Urospora (Acrosiphoniales, Chlorophyceae) in Western Europe.  Acta Bot. Neerl., 30, 353-431.

Lokhorst, G.M. 1978. Taxonomic studies on the marine and brackish water species of Ulothrix (Ulotricales, Chlorophyceae) in Western Europe. Blumea, 24, 191-299.

Prud’Homme van reine, W.F. 1982.  A Taxonomic Revision of the European Sphacelariaceae.  Leiden Botanical Series, Vol.6, E.J.Brill, Leiden.

Soderstrom, J. 1963.  Key to the species of Cladophora, Studies in Cladophora,  Botanica gothoburgensia 1: 1-147

South, G.R. & Cardinal, A. 1973. Contributions to the flora of marine algae of Eastern Canada. I. Introduction, historical review and key to the genera. Naturaliste, can., 10, 605-630.

Stegenga, H. & Mol, I. 1983. Flora de Nederlandse Zeewieren. Koninklijke Nederlandse Naturhistorische Vereniging, Amsterdam.

Taylor, W.R. 1957. Marine Algae of the North Eastern coast of North America. Ann Arbor, The University of Michigan Press, 2nd Edition.

Van den Hoek, C. 1963.  Revision of the European Species of Cladophora.  E.J.Brill, Leiden. (Reprinted 1976 by Otto Koeltz)




Hardy, G. and Guiry, M.D. 2006  A checklist and atlas of the seaweeds of Britain and Ireland. British Phycological Society.

Park, M. & Dixon, P.S. 1976.  Checklist of British marine algae – third revision.  J. mar. biol. Ass. U.K.  56, 527-594.

South, G.R. & Tittley, I. 1986.  A Checklist and Distributional Index of the Benthic Marine Algae of the North Atlantic Ocean.  Huntsman Laboratory & BM(NH).


Some websites




British Phycological Society   &


MACOI – Portuguese Seaweeds Website  


Marlin (The Marine Life Information Network)  




The Seaweed Site: Information on marine algae  


Norwegian Seaweeds Network  



 [CS1]This is out of print but you might get a copy somewhere like Abebooks, though it doesn’t come up often.



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