In practice, WGIMT works towards these objectives with a particular focus on species recognition, discrimination, and identification of marine metazoan zooplankton (i.e. animals that drift with ocean currents). Closely allied with this are more specific goals, including the detection of cryptic species and determination of the evolutionary/systematic relationships between pelagic metazoan species.
WGIMT seeks to contribute to the ICES mission to analyze, recognize, and understand changes in community structure, species diversity, and species phenology and productivity. Furthermore, the group contributes through understanding and predicting how these characteristics will affect foodwebs and trophic relationships as well as the transfers and cycles of nutrients, chemical elements, energy, and biological production.
The group’s members are encouraging the continuing integration of molecular and morphological taxonomy through leadership and participation in international conferences. This has included convening a session at the 2013 ICES Annual Science Conference on planktonic foodwebs and at the ASLO/AGU/TOS 2014 Ocean Sciences Meetin on integrative marine animal taxonomy
WGIMT is designing and will maintain a web portal to facilitate access to useful websites, materials, and online publications related to morphological, molecular, and optical approaches to species identification of marine zooplankton.
Group membership includes experts who use molecular approaches and techniques to examine a broad range of basic and applied research topics in zooplankton systematics, ecology, and evolution - including taxonomy, population genetics, phylogeography, biogeography, biodiversity, trophic relationships, predator – prey interactions, and phylogeny. Several members are expert morphological taxonomists for selected groups represented amongst the pelagic assemblage. The group welcomes expression of interest from experts in various aspects of morphological and molecular systematics of marine zooplankton.