Marine Species of the British Isles and Adjacent Seas (MSBIAS)


Many applications require a list of species that are likely to be found in the marine waters around the British Isles and adjacent seas. This list can be used for this purpose and furthermore if used widely will improve the ability to exchange species data between applications. The marine area covered by this list is shown below. The boundaries given in the map are recognized not to represent true boundaries of species distributions however does allow operational use of a taxon list.

To download the full list, carry out a search and then click ‘download results’ in the results window.

This list started as a geographic subset of taxa fom the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) that were originally identified through data holdings of the applications Marine Recorder and Unicorn and collated under the project ‘Pan-European Species directories Infrastructure (PESI)’. The MSBIAS list is now actively maintained through the UK MEDIN partnership to reflect those species present in the waters of the British Isles and adjacent seas.

MSBIAS scope

The taxonomic list used in Marine Recorder was derived from the following: Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E.(eds) 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Ulster Museum and The Marine Conservation Society, Belfast and Ross-on-Wye. Which itself was the result of a comprehensive literature review.

Feedback and Updates

All updates and edits to MSBIAS are carried out by the UK OBIS node, hosted at the Marine BIological Association (MBA). Contact:

Secretarial support for the maintenance of this list is provided by the Marine Data and Information Network. For further information contact


The UK Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (2011). The Marine Species of the British Isles and Adjacent Seas (MSBIAS): a maintained checklist of species originated from the UNICORN and Marine Recorder applications. Available online at Consulted on 2019-10-21.


The Marine Environmental Data and Information Network maintains this Register, but is aware that it may be incomplete and may contain errors. MEDIN cannot be held responsible for any errors or misuse of the data contained in this Register.

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© Copyright Keith Hiscock