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Monday April 25, 2022, 5 pm CEST


Jeremy R. YOUNG1*, Ian PROBERT2, Kenneth Neil MERTENS3, Jane M. LEWIS

Dinotax - first stages of establishing a web-database of extant dinoflagellate taxonomy

1 Earth Sciences, University College London, UK
2 Sorbonne Université, CNRS, FR2424 Station Biologique de Roscoff, France
3 Ifremer, LITTORAL, Place de la Croix, BP40537, 29900 Concarneau CEDEX, France
4 Shetland UHI, Shetland, UK


Learning, communicating and synthesising taxonomy has always been a challenge, especially in groups such as dinoflagellates with high diversity and wide biogeographic distribution. We have recently received French funding for a major research project “Phenomap” focussed on improving knowledge of phytoplankton diversity, taxonomy and phylogeny. As part of this we aim to develop a new online database of extant dinoflagellate taxonomy, building on the success of the Nannotax ( and pforams@mikrotax ( databases, which cover coccolithophores (and other haptophytes) and planktonic foraminifera respectively. These systems have achieved the objectives of proving accessible and authoritative online syntheses and are very well-used by students, researchers and consultants across the globe, both as reference tools and as practical identification guides. The Dinotax database will have a similar structure to those systems, and, although dinoflagellates are a much more diverse group, it will be of similar size, since it will only deal with extant taxa (fossil dinocyst taxonomy is synthesised separately by DINOFLAJ, Williams et al. 2017, and their stratigraphy and paleolatitudinal distribution by DINOSTRAT, Bijl 2022). Dinotax will include both a catalogue database of all described species and a separate, but linked, database providing a monographic overview of current working taxonomy. With generous assistance from Mike Guiry the basic taxonomic framework of these two databases has been created and linked to a bibliographic database (with PDFs). We are now preparing to develop the database by collecting images and reviewing recent syntheses on dinoflagellate taxonomy.
This talk will provide a first opportunity to introduce the project to a wider group of dinoflagellate specialists, and we are very open to suggestions, discussion of priorities and, of course, offers of help.


  • Williams, G.L., Fensome, R.A., and MacRae, R.A., 2017. DINOFLAJ3. American Association of Stratigraphic Palynologists, Data Series no. 2.
  • Bijl, P.K., 2022. DINOSTRAT: a global database of the stratigraphic and paleolatitudinal distribution of Mesozoic–Cenozoic organic-walled dinoflagellate cysts. Earth Syst. Sci. Data 14, 579-617.