Standardised Marine Taxon Reference Image Database

Welcome to the standardised marine taxon reference image database (SMarTaR-ID).

The use of image-based data in marine ecology is now routine. However, there are challenges in the identification of marine animals from imagery, and the taxonomic level it is possible to achieve in the field. To support field identification of marine animals many different organisations have developed their own in-house reference image libraries. Some have published their libraries as websites, apps, or papers. These reference libraries have proved a valuable source of information in supporting interpretation of image-based data. However, there are currently no standards around the identification of taxa from imagery.

The aim of SMarTaR-ID is to provide a reference standard to which image-based data can be annotated. Our intention is to make it easier to combine image-based datasets for analysis by ensuring some commonality in how animal morphotypes are named (e.g. my anemone 1 is the same morphology as your anemone 1). In support of existing efforts we have tried to align as far as possible with the CATAMI classification in our morphological filter. Standardisation is very important to marine biodiversity survey and monitoring. In addition, SMarTaR-ID aims to provide the tools to support training of researchers in the field-based identification of marine animals. Taxonomists within the SMarTaR-ID family have developed field keys to some taxa and we hope to develop more over time. We have also begun the development of field-based multi-access keys to marine animals in the form of filters on the database. This is a first step and we recognise there is much more to be done.

We hope this tool can help support the aims of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.