We are pleased to announce applications are now open to take part in this year's Zooplankton Ring Test

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 2020/2021 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.

Dates for the Ring Test:

Apply to take part                                      27th November (see below for expression of interest form)

Send out tests:                                            Week commencing 7th December 2020.

Deadline for submission of results:           19th February 2021.

Date and Venue for Results Workshop

 date and venue to be confirmed*,  Previous workshops have been held late spring-early summer at ‘Resource Centre, 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.


£500 (+ VAT) for Ring Test and workshop, fee per participant.

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

Please note that, as this is a self-funded Ring Test, refunds for cancellations cannot be given after 30th November 2020*.

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 report and invitation to a two day results/training workshop * including tea/coffee/lunch (evening meals, travel and accommodation will be at participants’ expense).

Senior Plankton Analyst, Marianne Wootton ( mawo@mba.ac.uk ), or NMBAQC chair, David Johns (djoh@mba.ac.uk).


  • Invoices will be sent upon receipt of a booking form.
  • 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.
  • Any participants who are subsequently forced to withdraw from the ring-test because of COVID-19 will be entitled to a refund.
  • If a participant withdraws from the scheme for this (or any other reason) without completing any of the tests, they will not be able to claim NMBAQC participation.


Oct 29, 2020 By jenski