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Census of Marine Life lists 122,500 known species, over halfway to complete inventory by Oct. 2010
Date:6/26/2008

00 new marine species into the literature every year. At this rate, the process of discovering, verifying, describing and naming all remaining unknown marine species would take over five centuries.

The global scale cooperation underway by the Census and the World Register is a prerequisite for the more time and cost-efficient discovery and recording of ocean-dwelling species. So too are new technologies for sampling, image capture, data management, genetic analyses (e.g. DNA barcodes), new training programs for taxonomists, and online initiatives such as ZooBank, which can assign "official" permanent registration identifications to new animal species.

Hosted by the Flanders Marine Institute, Belgium, the World Register has received early funding from several sources, including the EU's MarBEF (Marine Biodiversity and Ecosystem Functioning) research network and PESI (Pan-European Species-Directories Infrastructures) project, the European Register of Marine Species, Species2000 Europa, CoML's International Census of Marine Microbes project, the Richard Lounsbery Foundation, and the Global Biodiversity Information Facility.

And it will serve as the taxonomic backbone of another funder the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS), the Census of Marine Life's portal to vast information on species, including their global distribution and other data, adds Dr. Costello, founding chair of OBIS.

The World Register will also contribute to several related global biodiversity enterprises, including the Encyclopedia of Life (creating a webpage for every species), and Species2000 (assembling a list of valid names for the 1.8 million or so known animals, plants, and fungi, both marine and terrestrial).

"Modern technologies allow unprecedented global collaboration to consolidate, validate and advance more than 250 years of research into the diverse species that live beneath the waves," says Dr. Edward Vanden Berghe, who heads O
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Census of Marine Life
Source:Eurekalert  

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