15 years after conception by Jesse Ausubel and Fred Grassle, the
scientific community presented the First Census of Marine Life 4
October in London. For an overview of the newly released materials
visit the CoML portal or the site of the news
release. Jesse served as
leader editor of the Highlights report.
For a more personal view of the program, read Jesse’s
The Census of Marine Life is about the total
richness of the sea,
which serves as the foreword to
the new book, Life in the World’s Oceans: Diversity,
Distribution, and Abundance, A. McIntyre (ed.), Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.
For a view of Jesse’s early vision of the program,
see JH Ausubel. The census of marine life: Progress and prospects. Fisheries 26(7): 33-36, 2001
and JH Ausubel. Toward a Census of Marine Life. Oceanography 12(3): 4-5, 1999
The achievements of the community are extraordinary.
The books by
and the National Geographic map reporting the Census are printed.
So, is the 64-page Highlights report, and its 1600-word summary
translated into 10 languages. The greatly enhanced OBIS portal is up and now contains what/where
records for over 120,000 species. The valid names in the
Register of Marine Species now exceed 200,000.
The Encyclopedia of Life has pages with vetted content for more than
90,000 species and you can make EOL an Encyclopedia of
Marine Life simply by going to its Preferences
tab and highlighting “cmarine species” in the content
settings / browse classification box. Marine barcoders have DNA
identifiers for about 35,000 species. Scores of papers are appearing
in the PLoS CoML
and almost all these papers will shortly have embedded links from
species names to the relevant species page in the Encyclopedia of
Life. The overview paper for the NRIC collection in
has already been viewed more than 5,300 times.
Galatee’s Oceans film is an incomparable emblem for marine life,
and has so far grossed more than $80 million globally, and thus ranks
as the 4th most successful documentary of all time.
The performance stems from great ideas and determined implementation.
Every one of the 14 field projects flourished, as well as the History
and Futures projects and OBIS . The National and Regional
Implementation Committees performed superb studies and rooted the
Census in many more locales. The Education and Outreach Team, Mapping
and Visualization Team, and Synthesis Group multiplied the value of
everyone else\u2019s work. The Scientific Steering Committee and
Secretariat managed an effort of enormous complexity with endless
energy, wisdom, and focus.
The Census has far exceeded our expectations. It has gratified both
through accomplishment of tasks we anticipated and wonderful