Marine Census Shows Plenty of Fish in the Sea — Literally

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It seems the deep blue yonder is deeper than we thought. (via Ecocentric)

The first Census of Marine Life (CoML) has been completed after ten years of painstaking work. The international project involved more than 2,700 researchers from 80 nations, who spent a total of 9,000 days at sea during at least 540 expeditions. It has been described as the most comprehensive study of its kind, yet it still hasn’t come close to plunging the depths of the sea’s mysteries. Even after a decade of research, scientists say it is still not possible to reliably estimate the total number of marine species. “Much remains unknown, including at least 750,000 undiscovered species and their roles,” said Ian Poiner, chairman of the Census Steering Committee.

Although the study has come to an end, Poiner argued for the importance of continuing with such research, reported the BBC: “All surface life depends on life inside and beneath the oceans. Sea life provides half of our food and regulates the climate.” As John F. Kennedy once said,  “We are tied to the ocean and when we go back to it … we are going back from whence we came.” And as Sebastian the crab in The Little Mermaid said, “darling it’s better down where it’s wetter, take it from me.”

Over at Ecocentric, TIME’s Bryan Walsh puts the census in perspective:

Between climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing and marine pollution, it’s worth wondering how much of that 75% will still be there in a half century. The oceans, as I wrote for TIME magazine recently, are in a crisis, and their fate—and ours—is cloudy. But at the very least the Census of Marine Life should remind us how much is still out there in the depths, waiting.

Read more at Ecocentric.