A marine census in the works & some early findings

Remember our rant about ocean ignorance?

BrittlestarsIn fact, at a cocktail hour put together by Oceanblue Divers this summer, Dave Gallo (Woods Hole Director of Special Projects) said that when he first started studying the ocean in the 70s, we had explored 3 percent. And now, in 2008, we’ve explored 3.5 percent. No wonder we’ve been using it like a toilet bowl.

Anyway, my point today is that there’s a major effort under way to do a marine census, figure out exactly what is living on 70 percent of the earth. The results will be released in 2010, but they’ve already found a lot of amazing new creatures, including "behemoth bacteria and mammoth molluscs." And places to hang out, like a virtual city of brittle stars and the White Shark Cafe.

"Satellite tagging discovers that white sharkstravel long distances each winter to concentrate in the Pacific for upto six months. While there, both males and females make frequent,repetitive dives to depths of 975 feet (300 meters), which researcherstheorize may be significant in either feeding or reproduction."

The census began in 2000, and includes the efforts of 2,000 scientists from 82 countries. For more info, see this CNN article.

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