Teachers’ Lounge

Census of Marine Life

by michelle on Oct. 20th, 2010 No Comments

A Decade of Discovery

For the past decade, 2,700 scientists from 80 countries have been collaborating to establish the first Census of Marine Life.

Teams of scientists explored the different zones of the ocean, including coral reefs, the open ocean, mid-ocean ridges, bents and seeps, and the poles. They found new species and learned more about ones we already know about by tagging, imaging, collecting, and observing. The result: we now know more about the oceans than ever before and we have a baseline with which we can study what happens to the oceans in the future.

The Census of Marine Life website is a wealth of knowledge.  There you can discover all of the benefits of a study of this magnitude.  There are some excellent short videos and beautiful images.  Links to their results and publications include both scientific publications and popular books. Collaboration with National Geographic has yielded 2 stunning maps: “Diversity, Distribution, and Abundance”, and “Past, Present, and Future”.

The Census has not only involved scientists, but others as well.  Check out how marine life has inspired artists.  There is even a music video!  You can use the site in many ways: gather information to supplement an existing lesson, as a springboard to discuss scientific discovery and the role of technology, use it to create a sense of wonder about the world.  Enjoy the site and get inspired by all that is out there, and all that has yet to be discovered.

These two wonderful images are from two artists working with the Census.

Top image: An image from scientist Steven Haddock. Check out the The Bioluminescence Web Page and Jellywatch where you can learn more about similar fascinating organisms!
Bottom image: A piece from Fairbanks artist Susan Farnham’s exhibit based on the findings of the Arctic Ocean Diversity project.

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