Species Identification

Marine Introduced Species Monitoring Resource Center

Before volunteers can participate in organized monitoring efforts, they need to be able to distinguish between native and introduced marine species for a specific habitat. To facilitate this learning, SSCW has developed 20 marine invader ID cards and basic seaweed identification sheets. We have included below links to these ID cards and other species identification resources.

We have featured organisms that can be identified by trained volunteers. Many marine organisms can be difficult to identify. Some can only be identified by molecular genetic analysis or by complex taxonomic assessments that are impossible for individuals without formal training in marine invertebrate taxonomy. Because of difficulty in correctly identifying some marine organisms to species level, volunteers should be asked to identify only species that can be identified without the use of a microscope.

When volunteers are monitoring for an organization, they should be asked to focus their learning on a select list of biological invaders of concern, including several that have not yet become established in their region. When a species needs further examination to verify its identity, volunteer monitors should take careful note of its location and obtain documentation of the specimen, e.g. a photo or a small specimen. MIT Sea Grant under its Hitchhiker's Guide Program has developed excellent verification instructions.

Identification Resources

Invaders in New England
13 ID Cards
created by SSCW with funding from Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, EOEA

Potential Invaders to New England
7 ID Cards

created by SSCW with funding from Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, EOEA

Marine Life Field Guides

Common Seaweeds

More Id Resources

Marine Introduced Species
PowerPoint presentation

Kelp covered in introduced species: Membranipora spp.and colonial tunicates


Scientific Books and Papers

Additional Web Site Links

Monitoring Methods/Data Sharing


MIS Resource Center Home



Since 1991


Salem Sound

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