Counting the Ocean

By drawing on field research and historical archives as varied as monastery records, ship logs, and fishing derby photos, thousands of scientists from around the world have created an inventory of the living ocean. Explore the fascinating archive of The Census of Marine Life.

 

By drawing on field research and historical archives as varied as monastery records, ship logs, and fishing derby photos, thousands of scientists from around the world have created an inventory of the living ocean called The Census of Marine Life. In 10 years, they found over 1,200 new species. An estimated 5,000 more remain in sample jars. Biologist Paul Snelgrove discussed the project at TEDGlobal 2011. Here’s a small glimpse of the new life discovered in the big blue.

  1. This blind lobster with bizarre chelipeds is a new species. Its scientific name Dinochelus ausubeli is derived from the Greek dinos, meaning terrible and fearful, chela, meaning claw, and ausubeli, honoring Jesse Ausubel, a co-founder of the Census of Marine Life. Credit: Tin-Yam Chan, National Taiwan Ocean University, Keelung.
  2. This pink see-through fantasia, Enypniastes, is a swimming sea cucumber seen about 2,500 meters deep in the Celebes Sea, an area that has been called a “cradle of biodiversity for shallow water marine animals.” Credit: Laurence Madin, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.
  3. This spectacular jellyfish inhabits the waters of the Great Barrier Reef off Lizard Island, Queensland, Australia. Credit: Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum.
  4. This striking creature, a Venus flytrap anemone, Actinoscyphia sp., was photographed in the Gulf of Mexico. Credit: Ian MacDonald, Florida State University.
  5. This photo is of a “New” Dumbo (Grimpoteuthis sp.), a cirrate or finned octopod, which flaps a pair of large ear-like fins to swim. Credit: David Shale.
  6. This photograph documents an unknown isopod of the genus Munnopsis from the deep Southern Ocean. Credit: Wiebke Broekeland-CeDAMar.
  7. This photo documents an undescribed species of Lysianassoid, an amphipod crustacean, sampled near Elephant Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Credit: Cédric d’Udekem d’Acoz.
  8. This photo documents the first observation of the living color pattern of the Antarctic sea anemone Stephanthus antarcticus (first described by Rodriguez & Lopez-Gonzalez in 2003). Credit: Pablo J. Lopez-Ganzalez, Universidad de Sevilla, Census of Antarctic Marine Life.
  9. These samples for DNA barcoding were taken from this file clam, Lima sp., during an expedition on Ningaloo Island, Australia. Credit: Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum.
  10. This polychaete was found on an Australian coral reef. Credit: Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum.
  11. This Crossota norvegica, a jelly fish, was collected from the deep Arctic Canada. Credit: Kevin Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College.
  12. These Pohls Sea Urchins were found off Lizard Island. Credit: Gary Cranitch, Queensland Museum.
  13. This is a new species of hydromedusae, Bathykorus bouilloni, and is common below 1,000 meters. Credit: Kevin Raskoff, Monterey Peninsula College.
  14. The jeweled squid, Histioteuthis bonnellii, swims above the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at depths from 500 meters to 2,000 meters. Credit: David Shale. Permissions: David Shale.
  15. These male Leptocheliidae, collected at Lizard Island, are characterized by dimorphic chelipeds, larger than those of the females, in some cases significantly exceeding the body length. While normally held folded, the chelipeds are extended fully-forward during swimming. Credit: Magda Blazewicz-Paszkowycz, University of Lodz.
  16. Discovered in the northwestern Gulf of Mexico, this new species of “giant aplacophoran mollusc” is twice the size of any previous known relative. Credit: Darryl Felder, Louisiana State University.

The Stuff of Life

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