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Census of Marine Life Launches in London

On October 5, the Census of Marine Life was unveiled after a decade of joint work and scientific adventure by marine explorers from more than 80 countries.

The Census is one of the largest scientific collaborations ever conducted. It included over 2,700 Census scientists from around the world and took over 540 expeditions plus countless days in labs and archives. The result is an exceptional picture of the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in our planet’s oceans.

Many of the results from this global collaboration can be read in over 2,600 academic papers published in various journals. At PLoS ONE, we are happy to be one of the journals that helped play a role in the launch of the Census by publishing CoML Collections of some of these papers.

Below is a brief overview of all of the collections we have released thus far relating to the Census of Marine Life.  The papers in these collections are included in our new Biodiversity Hub and can be found on the PLoS Collections page.

  • Diversity in the Nearshore: The NaGISA Collection explores the relationships between species richness and biomass from different taxa along varying intertidal heights, subtidal depths and latitudes over large spatial scales. The papers also aim to determine the effect of several environmental variables as possible drivers of these gradients of biodiversity.
  • Future of Marine Animal Populations (FMAP) Collection analyzes and synthesizes global patterns and trends in marine species abundance, distribution, and diversity, and aims to model the effects of fishing, climate change, and other key variables on those patterns.
  • History of Marine Animal Populations (HMAP) Collection draws together representative examples of how diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life in the world’s oceans changed overtime.
  • Biogeography of Deep-Water Chemosynthetic Ecosystems – The ChEss Collection presents some of the recent advances in biogeography and taxonomy within deep-sea chemosynthetic environments: patterns, processes, and synthesis resulting from the Census of Marine Life ChEss Program.
  • The POST Collection provides a sample of the diversity of studies that can be conducted when an existing technological infrastructure such as POST—a large-scale acoustic telemetry and data management system—is available and easily accessible to researchers.
  • Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography – Regional Comparisons of Global Issues describes the physical, geological, chemical, and biological characteristics of the region, provides a brief history of research and species discovery, and gives insight into the role of Census activities in promoting and synthesizing this information.
  • The MarBOL Collection highlights the large variety of applications of DNA barcodes.
  • The TOPP Collection highlights research performed by a large-scale biologging program that has deployed nearly 4300 tags on 23 marine species throughout the Pacific Ocean in a series of studies providing essential input into the effective management of marine ecosystems and conservation of top predator populations.

If you’d like to learn even more about the Census, please visit the Census of Marine Life online at There, you can check out the Global Marine Life Database, see the latest Census discoveries mapped out on Google Earth, and discover many other fascinating resources for marine biodiversity.

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