The scientific framework of the Census of Marine Life comprises a global information system assimilating data and information from field projects investigating what now lives in six ocean realms (Human Edges, Hidden Boundaries, Central Waters, Active Geology, Ice Oceans, and Microbe) and projects designed to investigate the history of marine animal populations and to forecast the future of marine populations and ecosystems.


Information Systems

Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS)

A web-based provider of global geo-referenced information on marine species, with online tools for visualizing relationships among species and their environment.

Human Edges

Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking Project (POST)

A program to develop and promote the application of acoustic tagging technology to study migration routes and ecosystem usage of Pacific salmon and other marine species.

Census of Coral Reefs Ecosystems (CReefs)

An international cooperative effort that increased tropical taxonomic expertise, conducted a taxonomically diversified global census of coral reef ecosystems, and improved access to and unified coral reef ecosystem information scattered throughout the globe.

Natural Geography in Shore Areas (NaGISA)

An international collaborative effort that inventoried and monitored biodiversity in the narrow inshore zone of the world's oceans at depths of less than 20 meters.

Gulf of Maine Area Program (GoMA)

A project that documented patterns of biodiversity and related processes in the Gulf of Maine, which will be used in ecosystem-based management of the area.

Hidden Boundaries

Continental Margin Ecosystems (COMARGE)

An integrated effort that documented and explained biodiversity patterns on gradient-dominated continental margins, including the potential interactions among their variety of habitats and ecosystems.

Census of Diversity of Abyssal Marine Life (CeDAMar)

A deep-sea project that documented species diversity of abyssal plains to increase understanding of the historical causes and ecological factors regulating biodiversity and global change.

Central Waters

Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystem Project (MAR-ECO)

An international exploratory study of the macro and megfauna of the mid-Atlantic Ocean including the processes that control their distribution and community structures.

Tagging of Pacific Predators (TOPP)

A program using electronic tagging technologies that studied migration patterns of large open-ocean animals and the oceanographic factors controlling these patterns.