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The Census of Marine Life and
A Presentation to the
NOAA Science Advisory Board
Andrew A. Rosenberg, Ph.D.
Professor of Natural Resources, University of New Hampshire
U.S. National Committee Chair
March 12, 2008
1)Introduce Science Advisory Board
members to the work of the Census of
Marine Life
2)Relate the Census to the ongoing work
3)Explore the potential of NOAA as a
home for the Census after 2010.
Census of Marine Life
The first Census of Marine Life is a
decade-long research program to
assess and explain the diversity,
distribution & abundance of marine
life - past, present & future
All ocean realms: Nearshore to Abyss
All taxa: Marine Microbes to Mammals
Major integrative reports at conclusion in 2010
2000 scientists in 80 countries
CoML is uniquely diverse in scope
• Discovering
new species (5,300 since 2003)
• Finding 20,000 kinds of bacteria in a single
liter of sea water
• Identifying over 50,000 seamounts, sampling
•DNA bar-coding on a ship at sea
•new ship-based sonar technology mapping
fish schools
• Discovered
the hottest hydrothermal vent ever recorded (407 ˚C)
• A comprehensive list of species in the Gulf of Maine – 3,317 species
• Establishing ‘listening curtains’ to track animal migrations from Alaska to Baja,
• Placing sensors on large animals like elephant seals to collect oceanographic
CoML Components
Grand Challenge Questions
Oceans Past
Oceans Present
Oceans Future
What did live in the
What does live in the
What will live in the
History of
Marine Animal
Ocean Realm
Field Projects
Future of Marine
Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS)
Web-based provider of global geo-referenced information on marine species
Ocean Realm Projects
• TOPP - Tagging of Pacific Predators (Top Predators)
• CMarZ - Census of Marine Zooplankton
• MAR-ECO - Mid-Atlantic Ridge Ecosystems
Boundaries •
NaGISA - Natural Geography In Shore Areas
CReefs - Coral Reef Ecosystems
GOMA - Gulf of Maine Area Census (Regional Ecosystem)
POST - Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking
CoMargE - Continental Margins Ecosystems
CeDAMar - Census of Diversity of Abyssal Marine Life
CenSeam - Census of Seamounts
ChEss - Chemosynthetic Ecosystems (Vents)
Ice Oceans • ArcOD - Arctic Ocean Diversity
• CAML - Census of Antarctic Marine Life
Microscopic • ICOMM - International Census of Marine Microbes
OBIS Interactive Website
Oceans Past: HMAP
What Lived in the Oceans?
Salem Beverly Ship Logs
150 Year Old Cod Fishery
Decline of World’s Estuaries and
Coastal Seas Has Accelerated in Last
150-300 Years
Cod Biomass
Scotian Shelf
Now <1%
Oceans Future: FMAP
What Will Live in the Oceans?
Biodiversity & Ecosystem
Loss of biodiversity profoundly
reducing the ocean’s ability to
produce seafood, resist
diseases, filter pollutants, and
rebound from overfishing,
climate change Worm et al.
Science, 3 November 2006
Nearshore: NaGISA
Natural Geography of Inshore Areas
Global Biodiversity Baseline
Census of Coral Reefs: CReefs
2006 Cruise to French Frigate Shoals [NW HI NM]:
Over 100 possible new species & species unknown in Shoals!
Regional Ecosystem: GoMA
Gulf of Maine Area Program
October 2006
Georges Bank
Continental Shelf
scale acoustic fish
First extensive count of
species in the region:
3,317 species or ~50%
more than previously
estimated by scientists
Continental Shelf: POST
Pacific Ocean Shelf Tracking
Lines of receivers create coastal
“curtains” across shelf
Tagged animal crosses curtain
and the occurrence is recorded in receiver
Continental Margins: COMARGE
Blue bars:
# benthic
bars: #
or ROV
Expedition to the
Deep Slope
May 7 - June 2,
First systematic
exploration of
hydrocarbon seep
deeper than 1000m
in the GoM
AquaPix, Bob Carney
Deep-sea realm between
~200 - 4000 m depth
Census of Marine Zooplankton:
~6,800 described species of marine metazoan and protozoan holozooplankton
– and likely many new discovered by 2010
Exploring the Deep Sargasso Sea
10-30 April 2006
• Taxonomically
• Global-scale
• Accurate &
complete info on
species diversity,
biomass and
At-sea DNA sequencing!
Seamounts: CenSeam
Seamount – an isolated elevation rising
1000m (1km) or more from the seafloor
and of limited extent across the summit
Seamount biodiversity
is poorly known [MSFCA 2006]
New species of “Jurassic” shrimp,
Neoglyphea neocaledonica, believed to
be extinct 50 million years ago.
Bertrand Richer de Forges
Ice Oceans – Arctic and Antarctic
ArcOD and CAML
ArcOD leading
Arctic Biodiversity under
International Polar Year (IPY),
coordinating 19 international
independent research teams
CAML leading
Antarctic Biodiversity under
International Polar Year (IPY)
Microscopic Ocean: ICOMM
20,000+ Kinds of Bacteria Found in 1
Liter of Seawater
Marine microbes…
• Diversity
• Biogeography
• Evolution
• Functional roles
454 “tag” sequencing reveals marine
microbial diversity may be 10 to 100 times
more than expected
PNAS, 31July 2006
CoML Projects in the United States
The US National Committee supports activities of these
projects located throughout the US
Gulf of
US CoML Funding
Funding from a US Source
The Census of Marine Life initially a ten
year program from 2000-2010
Sloan Foundation main driver behind the
CoML Program, pulling support in 2010
Funding to US Activities
US Government Funding
Only ¼ of total CoML funding comes from
the Sloan Foundation
Over 150 million in funding comes from the
United States
Other Agencies
Average of 33 Million in NEW US funding to
CoML efforts each of the last 4 years
US Private Funding
TOTAL US Government
Other Foundation
TOTAL US Private
Biodiversity WorkshopResults and Conclusions
What Do We Measure, Why, and
• Biodiversity relates to ecosystem
services and resilience
• Biodiversity conservation relates to
ecosystem-based management
• Biodiversity indicators can be
integrative measures of ecosystem
Sponsored By:
Ocean Observing WorkshopResults and Conclusions
Objective: To demonstrate the importance of incorporating biological data,
into the Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS).
5 Major Themes:
Data standards; accessibility; Sampling protocols;
interoperability; applications
Target Data Sets:
MARMAP, SEAMAP, CalCOFI, EPA Water Quality, Fisheries Surveys,
USGS Surveys, Sea Bird/ Marine Mammal Surveys, MPA Center
CoML in the United States
Promote CoML and the value of biodiversity
 Sustaining the US CoML program beyond 2010
 Developing an OBIS to support US science, management
and education needs
CoML projects are relevant to:
Sustainable Fisheries
Marine Protected Areas
Habitat Loss and Pollution
Environmental Assessments
Invasive Species
Endangered Species
UN Convention on Biodiversity
Global Climate Change
Partnerships and Relevance
NOAA’s Mission:
CoML Capability:
Monitor the state of the oceans  Sample and estimate marine biodiversity
from coastal to deep sea environments
Integrated Earth observing
system and data management
 Developing new tools for coastal and
ocean observation (DNA barcode library,
animals as oceanographers, etc.)
Assessments and forecasts of
coastal and marine ecosystems
 Past, present and future assessments of
species distributions and abundance
Ocean exploration:
 Exploring unknown ocean regions and
biodiversity hotspots
 Capacity building and
effective knowledge transfer
 Building taxonomic expertise, public
awareness, and appreciation for marine
A NOAA – COML Relationship
• Incorporate OBIS into NOAA as a
permanent home of a marine biodiversity
data service
• Utilize the COML research and field projects
as a basis for helping meet NOAA mission
components [Code of Conduct for Sample
• Utilize COML as part of education and
outreach for NOAA
To form a subcommittee to work with the
US National Committee for the Census to
assess and figure out how to establish
and carry forward the Census in support
of NOAA's mission beyond 2010.