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 abundance of marine life that lives in our ocean officially concluded in October 2010. Over the course of looking for organisms in many ocean habitats—coral reefs, the deep sea, the abyssal plain, hydrothermal vents, and others—researchers discovered thousands of new species and photographed many others for the first time. Browse a small sampling of the amazing marine life documented by Census scientists in this photo slideshow. Not enough for you? Check out other slideshows of coral reef species, squids, and deep-sea corals.

Deep-sea species like this dragonfish collected near Australia live in cold, dark waters and may go weeks or months between meals.