'Fish with chips' reporting from ocean top highlights at Census of Marine Life mid-point

Coastal Fish Tracking, Using Implanted Chips, Becoming Continental Project;

1,800+ Sharks, Turtles, Other Species Call in Via Satellite from Mid-Ocean;

Carnivorous Sponges among New Species in Southern Ocean Abyss;

Eerie Underwater Dead Zone Found at 2004 Tsunami Epicenter;

Explorers Record Life at Smoking Seafloor Vents, 1st S. of Equator in Atlantic;

Giant Inventory of Marine Life Grows to 8.4 Million Records, 40,000+ Species

Revelations by high-tech tracking devices about the coastal migrations of endangered fish and of large animals in the open Pacific Ocean top the highlights from the growing ranks of researchers conducting the global Census of Marine Life at its 2005 mid-point.

A Census project tagging thousands of endangered salmon to chart their individual travels, with profound implications for protection of threatened stocks, will expand its arrays of underwater monitors from British Columbia north along the continental shelf to Alaska and south to California. The system could spread worldwide to monitor traffic and tribulations of the many species that migrate along the shallow coastal highways.

Meanwhile, Census scientists increased by more than 50% from 2004 the number of reporting devices on the large animals that typically venture from the shallow shelves into the deep Pacific Ocean. Some 1,800 open ocean animals of 21 species, including sharks, turtles, seals. sea lions, and seabirds carried Census tags during 2005. Some of the tags, resembling cellfones, call information into scientists via satellite each time the animal surfaces. A website (www.toppcensus.org) allows the public to follow some of these creatures in near real-time.

Tags show tuna are the marine jet set. A tagged bluefin tuna recorded its stunning trans-Pacific migration three crossings in 600 d

Contact: Terry Collins
Census of Marine Life

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