Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Census of Marine Life celebrates 'decade of discovery'

05.10.2010
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.

The scientists are using historical data as well as new findings to create a broad inventory of arctic species. The project operates as an umbrella program under which independently funded arctic projects join together to compile a species database. Currently, the database contains 250,000 records. The database is available online at http://dw.sfos.uaf.edu/arcod/ and through www.iobis.org, the censuswide data portal.

"What we are also trying to do is fill in the geographic and taxonomic gaps in our knowledge of arctic species with new expeditions and improved taxonomic resolution," said Bluhm.

During their research, the scientists discovered 71 species that Bluhm says are new to science. They say the research is particularly important because the Arctic is showing the effects of climate change.

"The Arctic Ocean is the region where the impacts of climate change are strongest expressed," said Hopcroft. "Ongoing climate warming and reduction in sea ice makes the effort to identify the diversity of its life an urgent issue."

An important part of the project is the distribution of knowledge to the public through educational outreach and publications. Gradinger, Bluhm, Hopcroft and the ArcOD team of nearly 100 scientists have published multiple book chapters, books and articles on arctic biodiversity.

Natural Geography in Shore Areas is a Census of Marine Life project that describes the biodiversity in the world's coastal regions. The project is also called "NaGISA," a Japanese word for the area where the ocean meets the shore. The effort will produce the world's first nearshore global census.

This international project is headquartered at both UAF and Kyoto University and led by UAF scientists. The principal investigator is Katrin Iken, associate professor of marine biology and the co-principal investigator is Brenda Konar, a professor of marine biology. The project is managed by postdoctoral researcher Ann Knowlton and assisted by research technician Heloise Chenelot.

NaGISA scientists developed standardized sampling techniques that have been used by a global network of scientists at more than 240 sites along the shores of 28 countries. The sites include rocky shore areas and seagrass beds in the intertidal zone out to a depth of 20 meters.

"The advantages of a standardized protocol are that global quantitative data is comparable over large spatial scales," said Iken. "Also, the hierarchical design allows us to analyze data from local to regional to global scales."

The data gathered by NaGISA can be used as a baseline to determine changes in biodiversity over latitude, longitude and time. All NaGISA data has been submitted to www.iobis.org. To date, 54,666 entries have been contributed. Along with this database, many scientific and outreach publications have been produced using the NaGISA data.

NaGISA scientists say an important goal of the program has been to involve local communities in the sampling and increase coastal residents' awareness of local marine habitat. According to Knowlton, one of the project's greatest legacies is the continued and future use of the NaGISA sampling protocol by both K-12 and university students.

With more than 2,700 scientists from 670 institutions, census leaders say that the Census of Marine Life is one of the largest scientific collaborations ever conducted. The Census of Marine Life is primarily funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Scientists from each of the projects will present at the census finale. Although the Census of Marine Life ends today, scientists from both the ArcOD and NaGISA projects say that they will continue their efforts to explore biodiversity in the sea.

About SFOS

The UAF School of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences conducts world-class marine and fisheries research, education and outreach across Alaska, the Arctic and Antarctic. 60 faculty scientists and 150 students are engaged in building knowledge about Alaska and the world's coastal and marine ecosystems. SFOS is headquartered at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and serves the state from facilities located in Seward, Juneau, Anchorage and Kodiak.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Researchers are in London for the symposium and can be contacted through Stephens at 907-322-8730 or e-mail at cbstephens@alaska.edu.

Photos are available online at www.uafnews.com.

ON THE WEB: www.sfos.uaf.edu

Carin Stephens | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.alaska.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Multi-institutional collaboration uncovers how molecular machines assemble
02.12.2016 | Salk Institute

nachricht Fertilized egg cells trigger and monitor loss of sperm’s epigenetic memory
02.12.2016 | IMBA - Institut für Molekulare Biotechnologie der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften GmbH

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

Im Focus: Fraunhofer ISE Develops Highly Compact, High Frequency DC/DC Converter for Aviation

The efficiency of power electronic systems is not solely dependent on electrical efficiency but also on weight, for example, in mobile systems. When the weight of relevant components and devices in airplanes, for instance, is reduced, fuel savings can be achieved and correspondingly greenhouse gas emissions decreased. New materials and components based on gallium nitride (GaN) can help to reduce weight and increase the efficiency. With these new materials, power electronic switches can be operated at higher switching frequency, resulting in higher power density and lower material costs.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE together with partners have investigated how these materials can be used to make power...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

UTSA study describes new minimally invasive device to treat cancer and other illnesses

02.12.2016 | Medical Engineering

Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product

02.12.2016 | Agricultural and Forestry Science

What do Netflix, Google and planetary systems have in common?

02.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>