The International Seabed Authority (ISA), in collaboration with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea (MOMAF) and the National Marine Biodiversity Institute of Korea (MABIK), will convene an online workshop on Enhancing Image-based Biodiversity Assessments to Advance Deep-Sea Taxonomy via the Microsoft Teams platform from 12 to 14 October 2021. The workshop will be conducted in two separate sessions:

  • Technical meeting for invited experts: Tuesday, 12 to Wednesday, 13 October 2021
  • Open meeting for registered participants: Thursday, 14 October 2021

This workshop advances the results of previous workshops on taxonomic standardization organized by ISA. In particular, the most recent workshop on Deepsea Taxonomic Standardization: Strategic Approaches for Collaboration, held in September 2020. This workshop identified key needs, priorities, and collaborative approaches for increasing deep-sea taxonomic knowledge, which are being further developed and consolidated into a roadmap to promote effective integration of deep-sea taxonomic information into ISA’s efforts towards facilitating activities in the Area in an environmentally responsible manner.

In response to these needs and priorities, this workshop aims to identify technical means and key elements for a standardized model necessary to facilitate effective sharing and use of image data within the context of ISA, 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 images, as well as optimizing and standardizing the application of images for biodiversity assessments, particularly species identification and description, 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 image-based biodiversity assessments, increase the awareness of associated methodologies, and promote capacity-building efforts in the field of deep-sea taxonomy.

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

Part I: Technical meeting for invited experts (12-13 October)

This meeting will focus on topics related to:

  • Archiving and utilizing images for the development of species identification tools and facilitation of machine learning for automatic image recognitions on which future Artificial Intelligence-powered tools can rely;
  • Standardizing image annotation methodologies and tools;
  • Improving methods for image acquisitions and analyses; and
  • Innovating outreach activities using deep-sea taxonomy image platform.

The Secretariat will invite experts with the following expertise to contribute to this Technical Meeting:

  • Expertise on tools and technologies for image-based biodiversity assessments;
  • Expertise on collecting and utilizing images and data collected from images, including taxonomists, curators, educators, among other data users; and
  • Expertise on image data management and archiving.

Part II: Open meeting for registered participants (14 October)

This meeting aims to:

  • Provide updates on the results of Part I of the workshop;
  • Present the roadmap to promote effective integration of deep-sea taxonomic information into ISA’s efforts towards facilitating activities in the Area in an environmentally responsible manner; and
  • Explore potential ways and means to enhance collaboration among members and stakeholders of ISA, including the scientific community, contractors, and decision-makers, for effective development of image-based assessment.

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 open meeting on 14 October 2021, are invited to register here as soon as possible, but no later than 15 September 2021.

The maximum number of participants will be limited to 80 to enable effective engagement and discussion. Participants will be selected based on their relevant knowledge of image-based biodiversity assessments, especially taxonomic tools and approaches, their experience in taxonomic services and capacity-building programmes, as well as their interest in technical and financial partnerships for collaboration. Geographic representation and gender balance will also be taken into consideration. Selected participants will be notified in due course, and no later than 24 September 2021.


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