Flanders Marine Institute

The Flanders Marine Institute (Dutch: Vlaams Instituut voor de Zee, VLIZ)[1] provides a focal point for marine scientific research in Flanders, northern Belgium.

The Flemish government established the institute in 1999 together with the province of West Flanders and the Fund for Scientific Research. VLIZ promotes the accumulation of knowledge and excellence in research with regard to the ocean, seas, coasts and tidal estuaries. The central focus is on the provision of services to the research community, educators, the general public, policymakers and the industry.

VLIZ promotes and supports Flemish marine research. Within this scope, VLIZ focuses on open, useful networking and the promotion of an integrated and cross-disciplinary approach. VLIZ serves as a national and international point of contact in the field of marine research. In this respect, it supports the image of Flemish marine research in the four corners of the globe and can hold mandates to represent this research landscape.

The institute also supports and accommodates international organisations on behalf of the Flemish government: the IOC Project Office for IODE[2], the European Marine Board secretariat[3] and the European Marine Observation and Data Network (EMODnet) secretariat[4] in Ostend, and the Joint Programming Initiative on Healthy and Productive Seas and Oceans (JPI Oceans) secretariat[5] in Brussels.

VLIZ also manages RV Simon Stevin[6] a marine research vessel. Making the research vessel Simon Stevin, marine robots as well as other research equipment and infrastructure available is one of the services provided to marine scientists in Flanders. Within a European context, VLIZ offers technical and operational expertise for the use of this infrastructure. It stimulates and initiates research based on these innovative technologies.

VLIZ also develops data systems, products, technologies and infrastructure. It collects new data by means of innovative techniques and valorises the increasing volume of marine data for the benefit of researchers, policymakers and the industry. In partnership with Flemish research groups, it develops permanent measurement networks at sea and presents itself to the world as a high-quality oceanographic data centre. The institute has developed and hosted the World Register of Marine Species[7] and associated taxonomic subregisters, and hosts the Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera,[8] and the Sea Level Monitoring Facility of the Global Sea Level Observing System. In November 2011 VLIZ was officially recognized as a World Data Center by the Paris-based International Council for Science (ICSU).[9]

VLIZ manages an extensive collection of marine scientific literature in Flanders and makes it publicly available to the broadest possible target group via its library. The Open Marine Archive makes it possible to remotely consult tens of thousands of publications free of charge. In addition, VLIZ initiates and conducts innovative and multidisciplinary research in collaboration with and complementary to the Flemish and international marine research groups. By identifying needs and opportunities, it provides oxygen to the Flemish marine knowledge economy of the future. VLIZ develops policy-relevant products and services for the marine research community and policymakers as well as to support the blue economy. The ‘Compendium for Coast and Sea’ is a reliable guide listing who does what within this field in Flanders. VLIZ initiates, promotes and supports multidisciplinary research to fill knowledge gaps and provide a basis for marine policy. It does so in close cooperation with the Flemish marine research community. Finally, VLIZ reaches out to the public at large, the press, educators and coastal guides. The information desk offers knowledge presented in innovative formats and contributes to increasing ocean literacy by means of science popularisation, thus improving the image of the research conducted in Flanders and beyond.

Flanders Marine Institute
VLIZ logo
TypeNon-Profit Organization
PurposeSupport marine research
Coordinates51°14′02″N 2°55′45″E / 51.233809°N 2.929128°ECoordinates: 51°14′02″N 2°55′45″E / 51.233809°N 2.929128°E


  1. ^ "Homepage". www.vliz.be. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  2. ^ Pissierssens, Peter. "International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) - International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE)". www.iode.org. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  3. ^ "Homepage | European Marine Board". www.marineboard.eu. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  4. ^ "Central Portal". Central Portal. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  5. ^ "Home | JPI OCEANS". www.jpi-oceans.eu. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  6. ^ "RV Simon Stevin". www.vliz.be. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  7. ^ "WoRMS - World Register of Marine Species". www.marinespecies.org. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  8. ^ "Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera". www.irmng.org. Retrieved 2018-12-15.
  9. ^ "The Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ), host institute of the WoRMS database, is now officially a World Data Centre". 2011-11-25. Retrieved 2012-03-23.

Amphitretidae is a family of mesopelagic octopods which contains three subfamilies, formerly classified as families in their own right. It is classified in the superfamily Octopodoidea. Species in the family Amphipetridae are characterised by having a single row of suckers on each arm (uniserial suckers), a gelatinous body and non hemispherical eyes.


Cranchiinae is a subfamily containing four genera of glass squids.


Echinoteuthis is a genus of whip-lash squid containing approximately three to five species. Some teuthologists consider Idioteuthis synonymous with this taxon.

The genus contains bioluminescent species.


The Enoploteuthidea are a family of squid comprising approximately 40 species in four genera. Most species have a mantle length ranging from 3–13 cm. Hooks are present on all arms and tentacles. The family is best known for the large array of photophores throughout the body.


Enteroctopodidae is a small family of octopuses. This family was formerly considered a subfamily of the family Octopodidae sensu lato but this family has now been divided into a number of separate families with Enteroctopodidae as one of them.


Euprymna is a genus of bobtail squid comprising around ten species.

European Marine Board

The European Marine Board is an pan-European network of national organizations involved in marine research which are either research funding organizations (e.g. research councils or ministries), research performing organizations (e.g. national marine research institutes), or nationally based consortia of third-level institutes (e.g. university consortia). The European Marine Board (EMB) is the leading European think tank in marine science policy. The Board

provides a platform for its member organizations to develop common priorities, to advance marine research, and to bridge the gap between science and policy to meet future marine science challenges and opportunities.

Established in 1995, it is a partnership facilitating enhanced cooperation between European organizations involved in marine science towards development of a common vision on the research priorities and strategies for marine science in Europe. It also facilitates enhanced cooperation between stakeholders involved in supporting, delivering and using marine research and technology.

The European Marine Board was established in 1995 as an expert Board of the European Science Foundation (ESF). In 2016, the European Marine Board established its own legal organization as an international non-profit organisation under Belgian law, EMB-IVZW. Eight Founding Members signed the deed in the presence of a Notary Public at a dedicated founding meeting in Brussels on 20 January. EMB-IVZW became fully independent of ESF as of 1 January 2017.

The Secretariat of the European Marine Board is based at the InnovOcean site in the harbour of Ostend, Belgium, with office accommodation and support provided by the Flemish Government, through the Flanders Marine Institute (VLIZ).


Heteroteuthidinae is a subfamily of bobtail squid encompassing five genera and around ten species.

Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera

The Interim Register of Marine and Nonmarine Genera (IRMNG) is a taxonomic database which attempts to cover published genus names for all domains of life from 1753 in zoology (1758 in botany) up to approximately 2014, arranged in a single, internally consistent taxonomic hierarchy, for the benefit Biodiversity Informatics initiatives plus general users of biodiversity (taxonomic) information. In addition to containing over 490,000 published genus name instances as at March 2019 (also including subgeneric names in zoology), the database holds over 1.7 million species names (1.3 million listed as "accepted"), although this component of the data is not maintained in as current or complete state as the genus-level holdings. IRMNG can be queried online for access to the latest version of the dataset and is also made available as periodic snapshots or data dumps for import/upload into other systems as desired.


Megaleledonidae is a family of octopuses in the superfamily Octopodoidea. It was formerly placed in the family Octopodidae sensu lato as the subfamily Megaleledoninae but more recent studies have raised this taxon as a valid family.


The Neoteuthidae are a family of squid comprising four monotypic genera.


The Octopoteuthidae are a family of squid comprising two genera. The family is characterised by tentacles which cease to grow after the paralarval stage, and the use of a penis, instead of a hectocotylus.

RV Simon Stevin

The ship RV Simon Stevin

is used to perform coastal oceanographic research in the Southern Bight of the North Sea and in the eastern part of the English Channel. It also serves as training platform for students from marine scientific and maritime studies and as a test platform for new marine and maritime technologies. Pupils and students from primary and secondary schools are offered the opportunity to step aboard for educational excursions.

The vessel sails under Belgian flag and the harbor of registry is Ostend. The RV Simon Stevin mainly performs one-day journeys, but multiple-day voyages can be scheduled as well.

The Simon Stevin serves a broad scale of marine scientific research. In Flanders, marine research is performed at universities and public scientific institutes. The research is multidisciplinary reaching from physical oceanography, fisheries research, marine biology, microbiology, chemistry, technology, archeology to geography, geophysics and geology.

The ship corresponds to the needs of multiple marine research areas; it is equipped with all standard sampling equipment and with high technological hydro-acoustic devices that allow current measurements (Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler) and characterization of the bottom (multibeam). A highly accurate positioning of the vessel is assured by the dynamic positioning- and steering system. A diesel-electric propulsion allows sailing as a ‘silent ship’, an optimal condition for the hydro-acoustic measurements.The construction of the RV Simon Stevin was funded by the Flemish Government. VLOOT dab is the owner and operator (Flemish Government) and the Flanders Marine Institute, VLIZ, is responsible for the scientific program and the management of the sampling equipment.The ship is named after the Flemish mathematician, physicist and military engineer Simon Stevin.

RV Zeeleeuw

The RV Zeeleeuw was a marine research vessel owned, maintained, and operated by VLOOT dab.

The Flanders Marine Institute took care of the coordination of the scientific program and managed the research equipment.Formerly a pilot vessel, the RV Zeeleeuw was, in 2000, rebuilt for research purposes. It had numerous assignments, including a monthly voyage to environmental monitoring stations. The vessel was also used for studies involving the environmental impact of wind farms, monitoring of seabirds and sea mammals, research of the marine biodiversity, data collection of the impact of pollutants on the marine environment, etc. The ship operated in Belgian maritime waters as well as French and Dutch coastal waters and the Western Scheldt.

After more than 10 years of service, there was a need for a modern, well equipped vessel, with a restricted draught needed for an optimal accessibility to shallow coastal waters of the Southern Bight of the North Sea and the surrounding estuaries. In 2012 the RV Zeeleeuw was replaced by the multidisciplinary coastal research vessel RV Simon Stevin.

On May 3, 2013, the RV Zeeleeuw was donated by the Flemish Government to the Republic of Kenya. The oceanographic research vessel is now named RV Mtafiti, Swahili for ‘researcher’. In Kenya the ship continues to serve marine research and is managed by the Kenya Marine and Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI).


Rossia is a genus of bobtail squid encompassing around ten species.


Rossiinae is a subfamily of bobtail squid encompassing four genera and around twenty species.


Sepiolidae is a family of bobtail squid encompassing 15 genera in three or four subfamilies.


Sepiolinae is a subfamily of bobtail squid encompassing 5 genera and more than 30 species.

World Register of Marine Species

The World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) is a taxonomic database that aims to provide an authoritative and comprehensive list of names of marine organisms.


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