How do scientists study the PRESENT diversity of life in the oceans?
It is virtually impossible to sample every single oceanic region or major marine community. Scientists investigate representative regions as thoroughly as possible with available technology, process the information gathered, and develop an understanding of marine biodiversity. This is the heart of the Census of Marine Life effort.
To quantify the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life, the Census has divided the ocean into six oceanic realms that encompass life from the surface of the nearshore to the bottom of the deep ocean. This research currently includes the following field projects: