Census of Marine Life
Miloslavich, Patricia Department of Environmental Studies, Universidad Simón Bolívar, Caracas, Venezuela.
Trew Crist, Darlene Census of Marine Life, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, Rhode Island.
- What lived, what lives, and what will live in the ocean?
- Diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life
- Legacy of the Census of Marine Life
- Links to Primary Literature
- Additional Readings
The Census of Marine Life was launched in 2000 as a 10-year program to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life throughout the world's oceans. The ultimate goal of the program was to establish a baseline of information about marine organisms against which future changes could be measured. Three questions guided this program: What lived in the oceans? What lives in the oceans? What will live in the oceans? Two novel approaches were taken to answer these questions. The first was to launch an unprecedented coordinated effort of new research and exploration of all ocean realms and taxonomic groups, from the shallow zones to the deep sea, from the coasts to the open ocean, from the tropics to the polar regions, and from microbes and invertebrates to whales (Fig. 1). The second was a review and synthesis of the accumulated marine biodiversity knowledge on a global scale. To accomplish these aims, an international community of more than 2700 scientists from more than 80 nations and 670 institutions came together in a collaborative effort that resulted in 540 expeditions and 9000 days at sea, and more than 3000 peer-reviewed publications reviewing 10 years of research and exploration.
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