Census of Marine Life

I just learned about Census of Marine Life. I used to love watching Jacques Cousteau and the Calypso on their sea explorations. I still love to watch the similar programs on PBS, the Discovery Channel, the National Geographic Channel, the Science Channel, and others. I never understood what all that discovered information was used for – It always seemed a little bit of a waste.\r\n\r\nNow researchers in more than 80 nations have undertaken a 10-year scientific initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans. The world”s first comprehensive Census of Marine Life will be released in 2010.

Scientists estimated that about 230,000 species of marine animals have been described in museums of natural history and other repositories. Since the Census began in 2000, researchers have added more than 5600 species to the lists. They aim to add many thousands more by 2010. The database of the Census already includes 16 million records.

The Census has evolved a strategy of 14 field projects to touch the major habitats and groups of species in the global ocean. Eleven field projects address habitats. Three field projects look globally at animals that either traverse the seas or appear globally distributed: the top predators such as tuna and the plankton and the microbes. The projects employ a mix of technologies such as: acoustics, cameras, tagging, and genetics, as well as some actual capture of animals.

This is a list of the Census Projects:

  • Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) in Information Systems A web-based provider of global geo-referenced information.
  • Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking Project (POST) in Human Edges A program to develop and promote the application of new electronic tagging technologyalmon.
  • Census of Coral Reefs (CReefs) in Human Edges An international cooperative effort to increase, improve, and unify coral reef ecosystem information.
  • Natural Geography in Shore Areas (NaGISA) in Human Edges An international collaborative effort to inventory and monitor biodiversity in depths of less than 20 meters.
  • Gulf of Maine Area Program (GoMA) in Human Edges A project documenting patterns of biodiversity and related processes in the Gulf of Maine.
  • Continental Margin Ecosystems (COMARGE) in Hidden Boundaries An integrated effort to document and explain biodiversity patterns on gradient-dominated continental margins.
  • Census of Diversity of Abyssal Marine Life (CeDAMar) in Hidden Boundaries A deep-sea project documenting species diversity of abyssal plains.
  • Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystem Project (MAR-ECO) in Central Waters An international exploratory study of the waters around the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
  • Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) in Central Waters A program using electronic tagging technologies to study migration patterns of large open-ocean animals.
  • Census of Marine Zooplankton (CMarZ) in Central Waters The Census of Marine Zooplankton (CMarZ) is a global, taxonomically comprehensive biodiversity assessment of animal plankton, including ~6,800 described species in fifteen phyla.
  • Global Census of Marine Life on Seamounts (CenSeam) in Active Geology A global study of seamount ecosystems, to determine their role.
  • Biogeography of Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Ecosystems (ChEss) in Active Geology A global study of the biogeography of deep-water chemosynthetic ecosystems and the processes that drive them.
  • Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) in Ice Oceans The Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) will survey the cold Southern Ocean surrounding Antarctica.
  • Arctic Ocean Diversity (ArcOD) in Ice Oceans An international collaborative effort to inventory biodiversity in the Arctic sea.
  • International Census of Marine Microbes (ICoMM) in Microbes Building a cyber infrastructure to index and organize what is known about microbes, the world”s smallest organisms, which account for 90 percent of biomass in oceans.
  • Future of Marine Animal Populations (FMAP) in Oceans Past and Future FMAP attempts to describe and synthesize globally changing patterns of species abundance, distribution, and diversity, and to model the effects of fishing, climate change and other key variables on those patterns.
  • History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP) in Oceans Past and Future An interdisciplinary research program using historical and environmental archives to analyze marine population data before and after human impacts on the ocean became significant.

And please check out some of these links:

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