Census

Census

The Census of Marine Life, a ten-year initiative to describe the distribution and diversity of ocean life, draws to a close today with a celebration, symposium and press conference in London. At the press conference, scientists revealed the results of the census, including the discovery of new species, new patterns of biodiversity and more. Scientists at the University of Alaska Fairbanks have played a major role in what the census calls its “decade of discovery.” UAF scientists have led two multi-year projects as part of the census. Both projects—the Arctic Ocean Diversity project and the Natural Geography in Shore Areas project—are dedicated to explaining the biodiversity of different areas in the world’s ocean. Between them, the projects identified dozens of new species and cataloged nearshore organisms at more than 200 sites worldwide.

The Arctic Ocean Diversity project, also called ArcOD, is an international effort to identify the number and variety of marine creatures living in the Arctic. The project looks at organisms that live in arctic sea ice, the water column and on the seafloor, from microscopic plankton to fishes and birds.

Bodil Bluhm, associate professor of marine biology, Rolf Gradinger, associate professor of oceanography, and Russ Hopcroft, professor of oceanography, are leading the project.

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