9 October 2010

Deep below, a vibrant world is documented by the first comprehensive marine census

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Census of Marine Life

NOAA National Marine Sanctuaries

What is out there, under the sea? After 10 years, it would appear that the Census of Marine Life has an excellent idea of the species residing throughout the world's oceans and seas. The project was sponsored by a host of institutions, including the Rockefeller University in New York, and the initial findings of this magnificent undertaking were announced this Monday. Commenting on the report, the co-founder of the project Jesse H. Ausubel remarked, "We're like the people in London and Paris 200 years ago, putting together the first dictionaries and encyclopedias." Equally amazing was the discovery that there are few "ocean deserts", and the census discovered a host of new species. The project reveals that there are almost 250,000 marine species in existence, and if microscopic life were included, that number could potentially land in the hundreds of millions. One particularly interesting new species found in the census was the so-called "yeti-crab". This denizen of the deep lives far off the coast of Easter Island, and it has rather elaborate furry claws. More discoveries and information from this project will be released in the coming weeks and months, and it's a project well worth keeping tabs on. [KMG]

The first link will take users to users to a post from the New York Times' "Green" blog from this Monday. Here visitors can learn a bit more about the census, and also view a photo of the "yeti-crab". The second link will take visitors to an article from this Tuesday's Wall Street Journal which includes a video clip about the census, along with an interactive graphic feature. Moving on, the third link whisks users away to another news feature from the National Geographic website about the completion of the census. The fourth link leads to a press release from Duke University, which features a link to a highly detailed and interactive map based on this census information. The fifth link leads to the census website where visitors can learn more about the findings, check out their video gallery, image gallery, and music video. Finally, the last link leads to a site developed by NOAA that features information about the National Marine Sanctuaries, including materials on how to visit these locations and some information on their management.

(via: The Internet Scout report)