About the service
Taxonomy has historically been part of the scientific activities of EMBRC Italy’s partner, Stazione Zoologica Anton Dohrn (SZN). Since its founding, numerous international specialists have conducted seminal studies on the morphology and biology of the flora and fauna of the Gulf of Naples. Over the years, taxonomy has evolved along with technological developments and has been fully integrated in the forefront of ecological and evolutionary research.
The Marine Organism Taxonomy (MOTax) Unit is a specialised core facility which exploits advanced resources, skills and expertise that are available at SZN for the taxonomy and identification of various groups of marine organisms. Merging traditional morphological approaches and modern technologies, MOTax provides a wide range of services that include:
- Species-level identification of phytoplankton, mesozooplankton and macrozoobenthos in marine samples
- Biomass measurement
- Counting of Ostreopsis spp. in seawater samples
- Isolation of single cells for the cultivation of microalgal strains
- Preparation, observation and imaging of phytoplankton, zooplankton (mainly copepods), benthos samples in electron microscopy (SEM or TEM) in collaboration with the Advanced Microscopy Centre of SZN
- Molecular characterisation (mtDNA, rRNA genes) of phytoplankton, zooplankton, benthos organisms in collaboration with the Sequencing and Molecular Analysis Centre of SZN
Training & instruction
As part of SZN's higher education activities, MOTax offers individual training and organises advanced courses on the taxonomy of marine organisms. The team is composed of expert taxonomists who are connected to a network of marine taxonomists from Italy and all over Europe. MOTax taxonomists undergo quality assurance auditing that certifies the compliance of the analytical methods used with international standards.
*Images courtesy of SZN