Ocean Census Surprises Scientists

Effort to chart all undersea life by 2010 finds 5K new species
By Katherine Thompson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 10, 2008 10:32 AM CST
Ocean Census Surprises Scientists
Brightly colored coralline bryozoans and sponges, which forms the habitat for many species of marine life, are seen in Antarctic waters.   (AP Photo)

Somewhere under the Antarctic Ocean, brittle starfish completely cover a submerged mountain. In the Pacific, sharks congregate in a region with few food sources but plenty of opportunity for romance. Those facts, along with an accounting of more than 5,000 newly discovered species, are part of the results of the global effort to create a Census of Marine Life, USA Today reports.

“I would say we are in a second Golden Age of marine biology,” says a Venezuelan scientist who likens today’s discoveries to the work of Charles Darwin. The census represents an attempt to catalog all of the world's marine species by 2010—no small feat. Scientists estimate the oceans remain 95% unexplored. (Read more ocean stories.)

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