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article imageCensus of Marine Life continues to amaze

By Betty Kowall     Apr 22, 2010 in Environment
Recently identified microbes, which constitute 50 to 90 percent of the oceans' total biomass, that can join together to create some of the largest masses of life on the planet have recently been identified
One noteworthy cluster covers more area than the state of Greece.
Currently, "The inventory and study of the hardest-to-see sea species -- tiny microbes, zooplankton, larvae and burrowers in the sea bed, which together underpin almost all other life on Earth -- is the focus of four of 14 field projects of the Census of Marine Life."
This understudied area was the subject of an update on scientificamerican.com, stating, "A single liter of seawater, once thought to contain about 100,000 microbes, can actually hold more than one billion microorganisms".... Large communities of microscopic animals have even been discovered more than one thousand meters beneath the seafloor."
This is only the most unusual recent report, of hundreds, that have emerged over the last decade from the Census of Marine Life (COML). It "is a global network of researchers in more than 80 nations engaged in a 10-year scientific initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans." It is rapidly drawing to a close and its release will occur in six months, October 2010.
The Great Swallower  chiasmodon niger  it can capture and devour prey that is bigger than itself.
The Great Swallower, chiasmodon niger, it can capture and devour prey that is bigger than itself.
MAR-ECO/Richard Young
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