Scientists discuss some of the 5,000 new marine species discovered through census

Today at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Diego, scientists participating in the Census of Marine Life (CoML) announced that the $650 million, 10-year collaboration will conclude on October 4-6, 2010 in London.

More than 2,000 scientists from 80 countries have been collecting data on the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life worldwide. One goal of CoML is to provide the science—such as migration patterns, genetics and population density—needed to conserve diversity and reverse habitat loss.

Ian Poiner, chairman of CoML, explains one of the uses of these data in a news article:

Now that we will have an inventory of marine life, say, by 2020 or 2030 we can say that certain animals are moving to cooler waters due to heating of the oceans or from shallow water to deeper due to pollution or harmful methods of fishing.

Scientists at the AAAS meeting also highlighted some of the species discovered during the expeditions, like a furry crab found in 2005 off of Easter Island called the “yeti crab.” And a species of sponge found off of the Florida Keys in 1999 which produces an anti-cancer agent. According to a BBC article, that chemical is now being tested as a possible therapeutic. 

Check out images of some of the marine life, including the “yeti crab” at the CoML website.

Author: Katie Kline

Moderator of EcoTone and ESA's communications officer.

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