Zooplankton are included in the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) as an indicator group; however, until recently, there were few other current standards for their sampling and identification. As such, the Healthy and Biologically Diverse Seas Evidence Group (HBDSEG) identified a need for a quality control mechanism for the correct identification of zooplankton.

The Continuous Plankton Recorder Survey (part of the Marine Biological Association, based in Plymouth, UK) provides a Zooplankton Ring-Test on behalf of the NMBAQC scheme.

Held every two years, the ring-test assesses the quality of zooplankton identification through practical tests and additional workshops*.

Encouraging consistency amongst zooplankton analysts, within and between different laboratories, the 2022/2023 Zooplankton Ring Test aims to:

  • Improve the quality of marine zooplankton identification;
  • Assess current skill levels;
  • Provide a venue for taxonomic discussion during a two-day workshop.

Please note that, as this is a self-funded Ring Test, refunds for cancellations cannot be given after 20th of January 2023. 

Dates for the Ring Test:

Send out written test:                                       Week commencing 9th January 2023.

Send out specimen tubes:                                Week commencing 13th February 2023

Deadline for submission of results:                    24th March 2023.

Date and Venue for Results Workshop

 date and venue to be confirmed*,  Previous workshops have been held early summer at the Marine Biological Association, The Laboratory, Citadel Hill, Plymouth, PL1 2PB England’


Marine Biological Association on behalf of the NE Atlantic Marine Biological Analytical Quality Control (NMBAQC) Committee.

£550 (+ VAT) for Ring Test and workshop, fee per participant.

Institutes sending two or more participants will be entitled to a 10% discount.

Costs cover the sending out of a three part test (written test paper, enumeration component and specimen identification test), subsequent analysis of results, a ring test certificate and invitation to a two day results/training workshop * including tea/coffee/lunch (evening meals, travel and accommodation will be at participants’ expense).

Workshop participants will have access to basic microscopes and other equipment (forceps, dishes, ethanol, etc.) but may wish to bring their own equipment (equipment requirements must be stated on the booking form).

*Due to the potential ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the running of the ring test scheme may be impacted. 

Revisions to the timetable (including cancellation) and changes to the normal programme, such as running a face-to-face workshop, may be necessary.  An online workshop will be offered in replacement of a face-to-face workshop.

Any changes in relation to this will be communicated as soon as possible. In the event of cancellation of the ring test, a refund of the participation fee will be provided.

If a participant withdraws from the scheme without completing any of the tests, they will not be able to claim NMBAQC participation.