Athens, GA — The International Society of Protistologists (ISOP) has published a revised classification of eukaryotes in the Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology. It is available online now as part of the January/February 2019 issue.

This revision is the gold standard for a broad overview of the biological classification of species, and for classifying novel organisms. Due to advances in technology, there has been a massive amount of new data collected from environmental samples that have led to the discovery of unique clades, new genera, and increases in species-level diversity. We now have a better idea of the undescribed biodiversity in our world and these new organisms need to be placed in the biological classification systems. The newly published Revision to the Classification, Nomenclature, and Diversity of Eukaryotes updates the revision published by ISOP in 2012.

“It is a synthesis of new developments since 2011,” said Sina Adl, the lead author on the paper. “It brings together people in disciplines that don’t typically interact much, and it is the product of extensive discussions of the published data.” The authors include the world’s top specialists in new species discovery of eukaryotic microbes.

The modern classification no longer includes formal terms such as protozoa, animals, and plants although they continue to be used by the public, because our understanding of how animals, fungi, plants, algae and protozoa are related has improved.

There are three major changes in this revision of the classification that are noteworthy: 1- Eukaryotes form at least two domains, 2- Loss of monophyly in the supergroup Excavata, and 3- Robust support for the proposed groups Haptista and Cryptista. Three new components appear in this revision: 1- Trophic assignment are provided for most taxa; 2- Suggested primer sets for DNA sequences from environmental samples; and 3- A translation guide to the new taxonomy for East Asian users.

There is still a lot of diversity to discover in the deeper oceans, and in soils, (such as the recent news item about a new lineage of life-forms discovered at Dalhousie University – Canada), stated Adl. This latest revision will aid researchers as they attempt to fill the gaps in our taxonomic knowledge.


Writer: Donna Huber, 706-542-9417,
Contact: Sina Adl,

Online version of Revision to the Classification, Nomenclature, and Diversity of Eukaryotes is available at

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