Workshop on Enhancing Genetic Approaches to Advance Deep-Sea Taxonomy

23 Nov 2022 - 25 Nov 2022

IN-PERSON: Seocheon, Republic of Korea


The International Seabed Authority (ISA) is convening a workshop on Enhancing Genetic Approaches to Advance Deep-Sea Taxonomy at the National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea (MABIK), Seocheon, Republic of Korea, from 23-25 November 2022, in collaboration with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea (MOMAF).

In December 2020, the ISA Assembly adopted the Action plan of the International Seabed Authority in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. One of the six strategic research priorities identified in the Action Plan is focused on standardizing and innovating methodologies for deep-sea biodiversity assessment, including taxonomic identification and description, in the Area.

In this context and continuing the efforts of the ISA secretariat to facilitate the integration of taxonomic knowledge into ISA’s work for the protection of the marine environment in Area, two virtual workshops were convened in collaboration with the MOMAF and MABIK, on taxonomic standardization (September 2020) and on image-based biodiversity assessments (October 2021).

Along with the increased use of deep-sea imagery as a powerful noninvasive methodology for investigating the deep-sea environment, significant advances are being made towards the use of environmental DNA (eDNA) as another non-destructive, cost-effective, and easily replicable methodology for studying deep-sea biodiversity.  However, the utility and scientific value of the information generated by these approaches remain to be unfolded, due to the lack of consistency across surveys, as well as absence of comprehensive genetic reference catalogues, which are critical in identifying organisms and matching the genetic sequences. In response to these needs, this workshop aims to identify key elements for effective access to and exchange of genetic data and information, with a view to enhancing deep-sea species identification and quantification, as well as increasing capacity and literacy in deep-sea taxonomy.

It is expected that the workshop outcomes will provide the ISA Secretariat with the necessary elements to develop a practical model of sharing genetic data and information for enhanced data interoperability between the ISA DeepData database and relevant international genetic databases, as well as standardizing methods for eDNA surveys in benthic and pelagic habitats in support of the work of ISA. The workshop is also expected to support members, contractors, and other relevant stakeholders of ISA in exploring opportunities to collaborate on innovating biodiversity assessments, increase the awareness of associated methodologies, and promote capacity-building efforts in the field of deep-sea taxonomy.

This meeting will focus on topics related to:

  • Genetic data collection, including needs and requirements for environmental DNA surveys
  • Infrastructure needs for genetic data archiving and exchanging
  • Genetic data sharing and analyses, including standard genetic reference catalogues
  • Relevant initiatives for the effective generation, use and sharing of deep-sea taxonomic information

A detailed agenda and other meeting documents will be uploaded in due course.

Members of ISA, as well as observers, contractors, international and regional organizations, projects/programs and initiatives, and academic/scientific institutions with an interest in contributing to the objectives of the workshop, are invited to register here as soon as possible, but no later than 30 September 2022 14 October 2022 (extended deadline for registration).

The maximum number of participants will be limited to 50 (fifty) to enable effective engagement and discussion. Participants will be selected based on their expertise and experience in deep-sea biodiversity assessments using environmental DNA tools and methodologies, genetic data management and archiving, taxonomic and relevant capacity-building activities, as well as their interest and capacity in technical and financial partnerships for collaboration. Geographic representation and gender balance will be taken into consideration. Selected participants will be notified by 21 October 2022.

Limited funding will be available by the organizers to finance the participation of the selected experts eligible for funding, in particular experts from developing States.

For enquiries, please contact: Luciana Genio, Environmental analyst, Office of Environmental Management and Mineral Resources of ISA (



  • Action plan of the International Seabed Authority in support of the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development [ISBA/26/A/17]
  • Report of the Workshop on Deep Sea Taxonomic Standardization: Strategic Approaches for Collaboration (15-16 September 2020) [link]
  • Report of the Workshop on Enhancing Image-based Biodiversity Assessments to Advance Deep-Sea Taxonomy (12-14 October 2021) [link]