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Smithsonian launches global marine biodiversity project with $10 million donation
Date:10/25/2012

here the diversity and abundance of marine organisms will be recorded on a regular basis. These measurements will be complemented by other standardized observations and experiments. By studying each site using the same methods over a long period of time, scientists will be able to build a comparative database. The data will allow scientistsfor the first timeto comprehensively study environmental change around the world's coasts.

"For most of my life, I have lived near the water," said Michael Tennenbaum. "I wasfor a short whilea lifeguard and a swimming instructor. For 25 years, I have loved scuba diving and have dived all over the world. I feel most at home when floating underwater.

"I believe that the Smithsonian has the best chance to do this job. It's one of the largest research organizations in the world and already does similar research. And the Smithsonian has identified this area as a key focus going forward. Its leader, my good friend Wayne Clough, feels passionately about creating a global marine observatory. This is such a huge task, passion will be needed."

The ocean covers 70 percent of the planet's surface and plays a key role in the global ecosystem. Nearly two-thirds of the world's population lives within 100 miles of a coastline, yet there is no long-term data on the ocean.

By documenting changes in marine biodiversity and coastal ecosystems, the Tennenbaum Marine Observatories project will position the Smithsonian to provide the long-term data and understanding that are critical to address current and future challenges to sustaining a healthy ocean.

The Tennenbaum Marine Observatories initiative is based on a similar above-water projectthe Smithsonian Institution Global Earth Observatories (known as SIGEO)that includes 47 land plots around the globe where scientists have been monitoring and comparing dynamics of forested habitats for 35 years. Due to its success, the Smithsonian is using it as the model
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Contact: Linda St.Thomas
stthomasl@si.edu
202-633-5188
Smithsonian
Source:Eurekalert  

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Smithsonian launches global marine biodiversity project with $10 million donation
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