First Complete Census of Marine Life Catalogs Yeti Crab, Darth Vader Jelly, and 6,000 More

Monday, October 4, 2010 - 17:01 in Biology & Nature

The first-ever Census of Marine Life was announced today, the result of ten years, more than 540 expeditions, 2,700 researchers, and 120,000 species documented (of which around 6,000 are new discoveries). And yes, before you ask: There is indeed a jellyfish that looks like Darth Vader's helmet. The census is the result of an immense, groundbreaking undertaking, totaling about $650 million over the ten years it took to complete. Never before has there been an attempt to document to the best of our ability the entirety of underwater life. The goal is to provide a sort of base level of total understanding of oceanic life. Discoveries in the future can be compared to this survey, helping us better understand which species are thriving, which are dying, which are changing and in what way. About 1,650 new species were discovered every year, mostly invertebrates and crustaceans but also lots of new fish....

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