Thursday, 28 October 2010

First Census of Marine Life Shows Ocean Life Is Richer, More Connected, More Altered Than Expected - Science Daily

photo credit Russ Hopcroft & COML

The Census of Marine Life (COML) has been a joint effort between 2,700 scientists from 80 countries over the course of ten years. Not your Bio 101 lab report - that's for damn sure. Recently the findings of this enormous project have been published...So what did they find?

"Patricia Miloslavich of Venezuela, Co-senior Scientist: 'Before the Census, we lacked even a simple list of known marine species. Information was scattered all over the world with limited access. If we liken Earth to a firm with humankind as CEO, we must surely know the key employees and their functions.'"

Key employees aka species were entered into the Ocean Biogeographic Information System, or OBIS. This system keeps record of new and old species, where they are found and can provide a baseline to help monitor 21st century changes brought on by human activity.

Says Victor Gallardo of Chile, Vice-Chair of the Scientific Steering Committee: "A human Census is used for many practical purposes, like government allocations of seats in a legislature, or funds for education and health care. Likewise this ocean life inventory constitutes a true Census that can guide conservation."

Full article here (Science Daily)

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