Eleventh Advanced Phytoplankton Course: Taxonomy and Systematics Internal


Activity Overview

Type: Capacity building and training
Start Date: October 4, 2015
End Date: October 24, 2015
Venue: SZN, Naples (Italy)
Contact: Adriana Zingone
E-mail: zingone [at] szn.it
Funding Call: EuroMarine 2014 Call for Proposals
Decision Body: EuroMarine Steering Committee
Total Budget: €73,000
Funds Granted: €5,000

Manager(s): Adriana Zingone
Co-organiser(s): Ian Probert

This course, intended for PhD/MSc. students will cover the morphology, taxonomy, classification and phylogeny of the most important marine phytoplankton species. The main topics delivered by 13 scientific experts will include methods and criteria for species identification, molecular and morphological phylogeny, toxic and harmful species, and aspects of phytoplankton biodiversity and biogeography.

This course aims at training an international cohort of scientists who will contribute to developing new taxonomic knowledge, contributing to a better assessment of biodiversity in the oceans. Students expertise in the taxonomy and specific identification of diatoms, dinoflagellates, coccolithophores and other phytoflagelltes will be updated, with emphasis on light microscopy, integrating molecular data and new approaches to the study of microalgae. A white paper will be written by the international faculty discussing phytoplankton taxonomy and its developments, applications, gaps, research and technological needs. A website with annotated images of phytoplankton taken at the course will be made available as well as disseminated through social media. The resulting collaboration and networking aims to foster long-lasting and collaborative relationships.

APC11 participants 

APC11 participants

The 11th Advanced Phytoplankton Course consisted of both theoretical and practical sessions. 21 participants from 16 countries attended lessons on general taxonomic features of marine phytoplankton, methodological techniques and molecular phylogeny principles. Posters illustrating the scientific activities of participants were discussed. At the end of the course all the material was shared. A final test was posed to participants to evaluate the improvement in their skills. Students declared their appreciation for a successful Course and provided useful indications to potentially improve future Courses. The seminars given by the invited speakers were highly appreciated. Despite the varying expertise and interests of participants, the APC11 format offered everybody the possibility to gain more knowledge in phytoplankton taxonomy.

The exchange of knowledge and experiences and the friendly atmosphere over the course represent an important contribution to the reinforcement of the worldwide community of phytoplankton experts. A total number of 197 participants, representing 45 countries have attended the 11 APC organised so far. They constitute a special community that includes well-known scientists engaged in the field of phytoplankton research worldwide.


  • The course was very intensive and resulted in a less time for the intended preparation of a white paper on phytoplankton taxonomy during APC11. Such a paper would be very useful and has the potential to progress.
  • (October 2017): Due to budgeting constraints, it was not feasible to host teachers for extra days to work on a paper. As of now, it is unlikely there will be any further action until the next course, which is planned for 2018.

Update Feed

October 18, 2017 - News - Update or Reminder - 11th Advanced Phytoplankton Course: Taxonomy and Systematics update