The Census Ocean Biogeographic Information System now publishes over 140 global databases, producing an online library of more than 10 million distribution records (up from 4 million just two years ago) of over 78,000 species.
A complementary library of short DNA sequences barcodes for quick identification of marine animals grew past 4,000, including 2,000 fish. Holes in the Census database define clearly the unknown ocean.
Extremes of Science
At a thermal vent 3 km below the surface in the equatorial Atlantic, Census researchers found shrimp and other life forms on the periphery of fluids billowing from Earths core at an unprecedented marine recording of 407C, a temperature that would melt lead easily. Although the species resemble those around other vents, scientists want to study how, surrounded by near-freezing 2C water, their chemistry allows them to withstand heat pulses that approach the boiling point up to 80C. Shrimp were seen on the walls of the vent chimney. Others in the habitat include mussels and clams. All somehow tolerate an environment of extreme temperature changes within a few centimeters and high concentrations of heavy metals from the vent fluids.
Southern Ocean census takers revealed an astonishing community of marine life shrouded beneath 700 meters of ice 200 km from open water. Equally remarkable, sampling of this most remote oceans depths during three lengthy cruises yielded more new than familiar species.
Census fish counters' observation off the New Jersey coast of 20 million fish swarmed in a school the size of Manhattan Island qualifies as most new abundance found. Sound emitted by a new ship-based technology illuminates life
Contact: Terry Collins
Census of Marine Life