Representing the most comprehensive and authoritative answer yet to one of humanity’s most ancient questions — “what lives in the sea?” — Census of Marine Life scientists today published an inventory of species distribution and diversity in key global ocean areas in a PLoS ONE Collection entitled, Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography – Regional Comparisons of Global Issues. This species inventory will help set a baseline for measuring the changes (such as rising water temperature and acidification of sea water) that humanity and nature will cause in coming years.
The scientists found that the number of named species contained in key ocean areas ranged from 2,600 to 33,000, with crustaceans comprising of about one-fifth of all species found. Only two percent of the species inventoried comprised of vertebrates such as whales, sea lions, seals and turtles. However, for every marine species known to science, Census scientists estimate that at least four have yet to be discovered.
The data obtained in the Census was combined with information collected over centuries to create a roll call of species in 25 biologically representative regions around the world that include:
- Atlantic Europe
- Baltic Sea
- Canada (East, West and Arctic)
- Caribbean Sea
- Indian Ocean
- Mediterranean Sea
- New Zealand
- South Africa
- South America (Tropical East Pacific and Tropical West Atlantic)
- South Korea
- the Humboldt Current
- the Patagonian Shelf
- the USA (Northeast, Southeast, Hawaii, Gulf of Mexico, and California)
Content from the PLoS ONE Collection, Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography – Regional Comparisons of Global Issues, will be featured in the pilot version of PLoS Hubs:
Biodiversity, which brings together selected content that has previously been published from a variety of sources for the benefit of this community.
Please check out this call for articles to find out more about publishing your Biodiversity research in the PLoS journals so that it may be considered for inclusion in the Hub which launches in the Fall 2010.