Census in the News 2009
The 2010 edition of the annual Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) calendar has recently been released and features several full color images of zooplankton taken by Census scientists. For thirty years WHOI biologists Larry Madin and Richard Harbison – with associates Ron Gilmer and Erich Horgan—have been leaders in studying these fragile animals, focusing on their ecology, behavior, and roles in the ocean. Single copies of the calendar can be ordered online through the WHOI shop. Bulk orders of 5 or more may be arranged by contacting the shop directly.
"Life in the Mid-Atlantic", a book by the late Peter Boyle, a cephalopod specialist and professor of marine biology at the University of Aberdeen, is now available for purchase through Amazon.co.uk. This well illustrated text, published by Bergen Museum Press, provides background information, accounts of goals, plans, and technologies, and a final summary of results to date of the Census of Marine Life project MAR-ECO (2001-2010). By adopting novel technology and the best research vessels the international team significantly enhanced the knowledge of biodiversity of the mid-ocean ridge system. Illustrations in the book include photographs produced by project partners, not least the renowned wildlife photographer David Shale, as well as historical illustrations of deepwater organisms by Thorolv Rasmussen from Bergen, Norway, and artwork by the contemporary Norwegian painter Ørnulf Opdahl.
Five of the Census’ 14 field projects plumb the ocean beyond sunlight, each dedicated to the study of life in progressively deeper realms – from the continental margins (COMARGE: Continental Margins Ecosystems) to the spine-like ridge running down the mid-Atlantic (MAR-ECO: Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystem Project), the submerged mountains rising from the seafloor (CenSeam: Global Census of Marine Life on Seamounts), the muddy floor of ocean plains (CeDAMar: Census of Diversity of Abyssal Marine Life), and the vents, seeps, whale falls and chemically-driven ecosystems found on the margins of mid-ocean ridges and in the deepest ocean trenches (ChEss: Biogeography of Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Systems).
By the time the 10-year Census concludes in October 2010, the five deep-sea projects will have collectively fielded more than 210 expeditions. Revealed via deep-towed cameras, sonar and other vanguard technologies, animals known to thrive in an eternal watery darkness now number 17,650, a diverse collection of species ranging from crabs to shrimp to worms. Most have adapted to diets based on meager droppings from the sunlit layer above, others to diets of bacteria that break down oil, sulfur and methane, the sunken bones of dead whales, and other implausible foods. For more information about these discoveries, including a full press release, image gallery, and video gallery, visit Press Releases 2009. To view an interview with Scientific Steering Committee Chair, Dr. Ian Poiner, visit CNN.com.
The November 19th issue of the journal Nature (462, 287) includes Mark Schrope’s review of World Ocean Census: A Global Survey of Marine Life. Published by Firefly Books and written by Census Education & Outreach Team members Darlene Crist, Gail Scowcroft, and James Harding, with a foreword written by Sylvia Earle, the book highlights the stories behind the Census through lively text and over 250 images, the majority graciously provided by Census scientists.
From the review:
"The book is at its best when it offers glimpses of the astonishing array of sea creatures revealed by the survey, such as the deepest comb jelly-fish ever recorded — found at 7,000 metres — which uses long filaments to anchor itself to the seafloor like a kite. Special sections tell of the widespread loss of bluefin-tuna stocks, the surprisingly long distances travelled by great white sharks and efforts to protect coral reefs."
Census researchers have recently published a paper in Scientists with the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) program combined satellite tagging, passive acoustic monitoring and genetic tags to study white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) – popularly known as great white sharks – in the North Pacific. The team consisted of researchers from Stanford University, University of California-Davis, Point Reyes Bird Observatory and the Pelagic Shark Research Foundation, and the details of their study were published online by the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
The Australian Biological Resources Survey (ABRS) and CReefs, with support from the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, have provided funding to five scientists from Australian museums and other research organizations to work with the AIMS-led CReefs project that is bringing marine life new to science to the surface. The grants, worth collectively $1.2 million over three years, are joined with cash and in-kind contributions from the scientists’ host institutions to make a total contribution of $2.7 million to finding new reef life. For more information, see the full article.
During the week of October 19, MAR-ECO participants will be gathered in Kristiansand, Norway, for a final all-project workshop. On Wednesday, October 21, project scientists presented a series of English-language talks geared toward international high school and university students. This webcast, which also included slide shows and live music, is viewable online.
Headed by renowned French film producer and actor Jacques Perrin,
Galatee Film Productions, creator of After the Monkey Folk, Microcosmos, Himalaya, and Winged Migrations, has completed a breathtaking film about the world's oceans scheduled for release in 2010. The Galatee team has received the support of the Sloan Foundation and has been working closely with Census of Marine Life scientists to ensure the scientific accuracy of the film. A PDF of a full-color brochure, prepared by Francois Sarano of Galatee and Myriam Sibuet of the Census of Marine Life, features the marine species highlighted in the Oceans film and provides links to pages in the Encyclopedia of Life with more information about each of the individual species.
Firefly Books recently released World Ocean Census: A Global Survey of Marine Life. This beautifully illustrated 256-page book tells the amazing inside story of the Census of Marine Life. Written by Census Education & Outreach Team members Darlene Crist, Gail Scowcroft, and James Harding, with a foreword written by Sylvia Earle, the book highlights the stories behind the Census through lively text and over 250 images, the majority graciously provided by Census scientists. The volume’s chapters give insight into the human side of research and set the stage for the release of the first Census of Marine Life in 2010. Visit Firefly Books to view a Table of Contents, sample pages, and ordering information.