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Offshore Marine Invertebrate Identification Guide

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Field Guide to Offshore Marine Invertebrates of South Africa 2018

Edited by Lara J. Atkinson (SAEON) & Kerry J. Sink (SANBI)
Published by Malachite Marketing and Media


Since 2011, the biodiversity team at the SAEON Egagasini Node have implemented and maintained a long-term, offshore invertebrate monitoring programme in collaboration with the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF), the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). This monitoring programme has enabled a rapid increase in local knowledge and understanding of offshore invertebrate taxonomy in South Africa and laid a foundation for the classification, description and mapping of offshore benthic ecosystems. Over the past year, a large team of co-authors and collaborators from throughout South Africa and abroad, led by Lara Atkinson and Kerry Sink, have compiled information from 409 offshore invertebrate species to produce the first Field Guide to Offshore Marine Invertebrates of South Africa. This photograph-based field identification guide aims to enable researchers, fishery observers and fishers to readily recognise and identify commonly occuring invertebrate epifauna from South Africa's offshore region. Due to the nature of research trawl sampling, species depicted in this guide are currently spatially limited to the DAFF demersal survey area, which spans the continental shelf between 30 m and 1000 m from the Orange River mouth to Port Alfred.

The field guide is a significant milestone in the description and mapping of South Africa's deep-water invertebrate biodiversity. The information presented advances taxonomy and biogeographic research contributing to the description, mapping, assessment and thus, the improved management, of marine ecosystems in South Africa.

 The PDF publication is available for download as either the full document or individual phyla chapters. Please note the Creative Commons licencing agreement conditions (Attribution-ShareAlike) and citation to be used when referencing material from this publication.

To download click the icons below :

 To download the full version click   Benthic Invert Field guide cover page

Chapters can be downloaded here:

 Introduction Thumbnail


Porifera thumbnailCnidaria thumbnailSipuncula thumbnail

 Annelida ThumbnailAthropoda thumbnailBryozoa thumbnail

Brachiopoda thumbnailMollusca thumbnailCephalopoda thumbnail

Echinodermata thumbnailChordata thumbnailHemichordata thumbnail

Index Thumbnail


For enquiries and information, please contact Dr. Lara Atkinson (

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