The World Register of Deep-Sea Species (WoRDSS) and the World’s first Deep-Sea ID App

March 20, 2013
A Deep-Sea Field Guide

The University of Southampton INDEEP Project (International Network for Scientific Investigation of Deep-Sea Ecosystems – funded by the Total Foundation) provided funding for the World Register of Deep-Sea Species (, a new web portal which aims to bring together the most up-to-date taxonomy with a suite of identification tools (online keys, monographs and papers) recommended by taxonomic experts.

The primary goal of the project has been to build a comprehensive database of known deep-sea species and to present this as a thematic species database (TSD) of the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS), with all data dynamically linked to WoRMS and their team of taxonomic editors. All deep-sea biologists will be able to use this website as a rapid tool to search for deep-sea species, create deep-sea species lists and browse using an up-to-date taxonomy.

As a secondary goal, INDEEP also provided funding for the first version of Deep Sea ID, an iOS field guide app to the marine life of the deep sea.  The project was led by the Natural History Museum, the National Oceanography Centre and the World Register of Marine Species.

The app allows offline access to the World Register of Deep-Sea Species and currently stores on your device the taxonomic information for over 20,000 deep-sea species, over 350 high-resolution photographs of deep-sea specimens as well as links to online taxonomic tools, sources and important references.

The app is designed to improve access to taxonomic information for researchers and contractors working at sea or in the laboratory as well as educators and science communicators who wish to learn more about the remarkable diversity of deep-sea life. The app will be regularly updated with more images, and we welcome contributions (see below).

You can download iPhone and iPad versions of the app for free from the App Store now!


Deepwater chimaera

Data Sources & Acknowledgements

We would like to acknowledge the financial support of the INDEEP Project. The WoRDSS web portal and  the app have been developed as part of INDEEP Working Group 1 on Taxonomy and Evolution (

The taxonomic information held in the World Register of Deep-Sea Species (WoRDSS) is sourced directly from the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS). WoRMS is managed by an international Steering Committee, a Board of Editors and the IT team at the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ) in Belgium. Both the WoRMS and WoRDSS websites are hosted at VLIZ.

At the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, UK, Dr Tammy Horton is contributing to the species lists and coordinating the collation of taxonomic identification resources. The species lists and images that are used to create Deep Sea ID are currently maintained at the Natural History Museum in London, UK by Dr Adrian Glover and at the University of Plymouth, UK by Dr Nicholas Higgs.

Deep Sea ID has been developed by the Natural History Museum, London with the iOS software development by Heathwest Systems Ltd.


Contributing Images and Correcting Errors

We are currently sourcing more images for the next version of the app. Please consider contributing! We also welcome contributions and corrections to the main database. Further information including details on how to contribute new images are available on the WoRDSS website.

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