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Extreme life, marine style highlights 2006 ocean census

A host of record-breaking discoveries and revelations that stretch the extreme frontiers of marine knowledge were achieved by the Census of Marine Life in 2006, highlights of which were released today.

They include life adapted to brutal conditions around 407C fluids spewing from a seafloor vent (the hottest ever discovered), a mighty microbe 1 cm in diameter, mysterious 1.8 kg (4 lb) lobsters off the Madagascar coast, a US school of fish the size of Manhattan Island, and more unfamiliar than familiar species turned up beneath 700 meters of Antarctic ice.


Census of Marine Life, Year 6

Now in its 6th year, Census participants and their supporters pool talents and specialties, ships and laboratories, archives and technology in an unprecedented global scientific collaboration. Together, they are systematically recording the diversity, distribution, and abundance of global marine life. The most intense field work is taking place in 2006-8; the results will be analysed and synthesized in 2009-10 with the goal by 2010 of an initial census describing what lived, now lives, and will live in the oceans.

Census scientists mounted 19 ocean expeditions in 2006 (a 20th expedition underway in the Antarctic can be followed online at www.awi.de/MET/Polarstern/psobse.html). They inventoried nearshore biodiversity, where the number of active sampling sites grew exponentially from 30 to 128 in 2006 alone. And, using satellites, they followed across thousands of kilometers of ocean more than 20 tagged species - from sharks and squid to sea lions and albatross.

"Each Census expedition reveals new marvels of the ocean and with the return of each vessel it is increasingly clear that many more discoveries await marine explorers for years to come," says Fred Grassle, Chair of the Census Scientific Steering Committee.

Each of 17 core projects p
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Census of Marine Life
10-Dec-2006


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