Future of Marine Animal Populations (FMAP)

The Future of Marine Animal Populations (FMAP) was a network of scientists within the Census of Marine Life that tried to understand the past, present and future of marine life.

Ian Jonsen
Heike Lotze
Boris Worm


Project Leaders:

Ian D. Jonsen, Ph.D., Dalhousie University, Department of Biology, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Heike K. Lotze, Ph.D., Dalhousie University, Department of Biology, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Boris Worm, Ph.D., Dalhousie University, Department of Biology, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

Ransom A. Myers, Ph.D., Dalhousie University, Department of Biology, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada (deceased)

Visit the FMAP website.

Global marine species richness for all taxa. Cells with a bold outline are hotspots (defined as the 10% of cells with highest mean richness). Horizontal tick marks on color-bars indicate quartiles.

FMAP’s mission within the Census was to describe and synthesize globally changing patterns of species abundance, distribution, and diversity, and to model the effects of fishing, climate change and other key variables on those patterns. This work was done across ocean realms and with an emphasis on understanding past changes and predicting future scenarios.

FMAP had a strong emphasis on statistical modeling of patterns derived from biological data. The project’s focus was on data synthesis, often by means of meta-analysis, which is the formal integration of many data sets to answer a common question.

FMAP researchers also engaged in field surveys and experimental work, but mostly focused on analyzing and synthesizing data sets collected by other Census projects and third parties. This approach enabled very broad scientific questions to be asked about the status and changes in diversity, abundance and distribution of marine animals, such as:

   - What are the global patterns of marine biodiversity?
   - What are the major drivers explaining diversity patterns and changes?
   - What is the total number of species in the ocean (known and unknown)?
   - How has the abundance of major species groups changed over time?
   - What are the ecosystem consequences of fishing and climate change?
   - How is the distribution of animals in the ocean changing?
   - How is the movement of animals determined by their behavior and environment?

Within the Census, FMAP interacted and collaborated with all projects to varying degrees, most consistently with History of Marine animal Populations (HMAP), Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), and the Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP) Program, as well as various deep-sea projects.

FMAP grew out of a workshop held at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia (Canada) in June 2002. Representatives of all the major elements of the Census, including the History of Marine Animal Populations project, the field projects, and the Ocean Biogeographic Information System participated and provided guidance in the design of this project. FMAP was originally envisioned and led by Ransom A. Myers, Killam Chair of Ocean Studies at Dalhousie University. His leadership and vision carried the project until his sudden passing in 2007. Two additional FMAP centers were established in 2003 at the University of Iceland with Gunnar Stefansson, and the University of Tokyo with Hiroyuki Matsuda, respectively. FMAP researchers Ian Jonsen, Heike Lotze and Boris Worm at Dalhousie University took over leadership of the project from 2007 to 2010.

Visit the Future of Marine Animal Populations website.