Census of Marine Life

The Census of Marine Life was a 10-year international effort that assessed the diversity (how many different kinds), distribution (where they live), and abundance (how many individuals) of marine life.

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This recently discovered hairy crab species (Kiwa hirsuta) has no eyes.

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The Census of Marine Life

Did you know that over 17,000 species thrive in the deep sea where no light penetrates the ocean waves? Or that an old...

Sea Creatures from the Deep: A Video by National Geographic and the Census of Marine Life

The Census of Marine Life - a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” It was an international effort to asses the diversity,...
Ruth Meadows examines specimens as part of her Teacher at Sea experience.  NOAA Teacher at Sea Ruth Meadows sorts specimens aboard the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow as part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystem (MAR-ECO) project.

NOAA Teacher at Sea Ruth Meadows

Ruth Meadows examines specimens as part of her Teacher at Sea experience. NOAA Teacher at Sea Ruth Meadows sorts specimens aboard the NOAA Ship Henry B. Bigelow as part of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystem...
Cover of the Book Citizens of the Sea

Citizens of the Sea

Order a copy of the book, Citizens of the Sea . Credit: National Geographic The incredible variety of marine life—in numbers, body form, behavior, and more—is at the heart of Citizens of the Sea...

Census of Marine Life Video Release

As 10 years of intensive research draw to a close, the Census of Marine Life has released the most comprehensive inventory of life in the ocean to date. This landmark collection of scientific papers...

Creature Feature from the Census of Marine Life

In a decade long project, which ended in October 2010, scientists with the Census of Marine Life traveled the world cataloging the ocean’s life forms. From Australia to China to the Gulf of Mexico...

A Mosaic of Ocean Habitats: A Video by National Geographic and the Census of Marine Life

From the open ocean to coastal tidepools, from the fantastic to the familiar, a mosaic of marine habitats provides homes, feeding and spawning grounds, and seasonal destinations for ocean species. Census of Marine Life...
Deep-sea dragonfish from Australia

Census of Marine Life: Wild and Wonderful Creatures

The Census of Marine Life was a ten-year effort by scientists from around the world to answer the age-old question, “What lives in the sea?” The international effort to asses the diversity, distribution, and...

Forces of Change in the Ocean

The ocean covers more than 70 percent of the Earth and is essential to all life. But forces of change, from overfishing to climate change, are affecting the ocean and humanity's relationship with it...
Nine small invertebrates held on two fingers.

On Biodiversity: Understanding its Meaning and Importance

These mollusks and echinoderms are a teeny-tiny sample of the ocean's biodiversity. The Census of Marine Life estimates that there are at least one million species of plants and animals in the sea. Most...
Dive through the zones of the ocean to the deep ocean bottom where many strange species live, and there are many yet to be discovered. Explore them in the Deep Ocean Exploration section.

What We DON'T Know About the Deep Sea

Dive through the zones of the ocean to the deep ocean bottom where many strange species live, and there are many yet to be discovered. Explore them in the Deep Ocean Exploration section. Credit:...
Census researchers discovered this sea cucumber (Enypniastes sp.) in the Gulf of Mexico.

Zooplankton Biodiversity

Holozooplankton are animals that live adrift in the ocean waves for their entire lives. The researchers who took part in the Census of Marine Zooplankton, a project of the Census of Marine Life ,...

A Ctenophore Feeds

The comb jelly (ctenophore) Thalassocalyce inconstans is found in shallow to deep water in the Atlantic Ocean, Mediterranean Sea, and sometimes in warmer Pacific Ocean waters off the coast of California -- although this...
This recently discovered hairy crab species (Kiwa hirsuta) has no eyes.

The Census of Marine Life

Did you know that over 17,000 species thrive in the deep sea where no light penetrates the ocean waves? Or that an old restaurant menu can teach us about the history of fish populations?...
A red and white colored bristle worm swims in the water column.

Five Questions with Brigitte Ebbe, Polychaete Pundit

Now that the Census of Marine Life is over, we’re checking in with some of the researchers to hear about their favorite expedition, what they learned, and how the Census and its findings continue...

Five Questions with Russ Hopcroft, Zooplankton Whiz

Now that the Census of Marine Life is over, we’re checking in with some of its researchers to hear about their favorite expeditions, what they learned, and how the Census and its findings continue...
Coral Spawning by Moonlight

A Tale of Sex and Stress in the Ocean

A coral has just spawned. Each of the hundreds of polyps releases a small pink bundle of sperm and eggs. Credit: Raphael Williams Welcome to Citizens of the Sea , a new blog series...
An adult and juvenile killer whale frolic in the water.

Menopausal Moms: A Mammal Mystery

Killer whales ( Orcinus orca ) have something in common with humans: early menopause. Credit: Robert L. Pitman, NOAA Fisheries, USA In honor of Mother's Day, the Citizens of the Sea blog salutes ocean-going...