How do scientists identify all the different species collected?
The Census of Marine Life is collecting millions of organisms during its ten-year effort. Census scientists anticipate the discovery of many thousands of different species. The process of accurately identifying so many organisms is a tremendous task. Traditionally, specialized scientists called taxonomists use physical characteristics for species identification. Modern techniques use an organism's genetic make-up to identify and classify organisms. Combined with traditional approaches, genetic identification gives Census researchers a tool to catalog the marine organisms they discover.