How to Census Marine Life: ocean realm field projects
Keywords:oceans, species, biogeography, biohistory, diversity
COML field projects will extend our understanding of ocean diversity, distribution and abundance from the nearshore to the abyssal plains. In nearshore, coastal and the upper ocean zones where diversity is reasonably well known it will add details about ranges, migrations and population size, but in the deep ocean there are still likely millions of new species to be described. Global coverage with standard, economical protocols is the goal in the shallow zones, but demonstrating and calibrating efficient new technologies in the deeps may be all that is possible in the 10 year life of the program. Representative sampling from such challenging habitats as the continental margins, abyssal plains, seamounts, deep sea vents, ice-covered oceans and kilometers deep mid-waters is planned. There is even a plan to reveal the four billion years of evolution in the microbial oceans, but strong global cooperation, participation and investment will be require to make the these vast hidden realms as well know as the human edges. There is great interest and international teams supporting the COML now and its legacy in Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS) and Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) will be the foundation of future monitoring and assessment of ocean life.
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