Census of Marine Life

Census of Marine Life is a central project of marine biologists in the exploration of the oceans. The project can be viewed as a kind of census under water.


The international project employs scientists in more than 82 countries with the exploration of the oceans. A comprehensive database stores its findings, which go far beyond the description of newly discovered species. One wants to track, for example, migration of whales, sharks and schools of fish better and more accurately estimate the biomass in the oceans.

The principal investigators of the Ocean Biogeographic Information System ( Obis ) came in 2004 to the conclusion that mankind has been explored less than five percent of the world's oceans. Researchers at the Consortium for Oceanographic Research and Education in Washington complement in this context, that while man lives on a planet whose surface is 70 percent water, but you still less over the seabed white, than the remotest corners of the moon.

First results

In August 2010 the first results were published. In the various examined marine regions different eukaryotic species were 2600-33000 found and newly discovered 1,200 previously unknown species. Among the newly discovered species include planktonic organisms, octopus and deep sea fish. The most species-rich regions with 32 889 or 32 777 species are the seas around Australia and Japan. In the Mediterranean, 16 848 species were found in the European Atlantic and 12,270 in the Baltic Sea 5865.

The species are distributed proportionately to the following taxa:

The following table gives the number of species for all investigated marine regions again ( are specified countries, are of course the coasts and adjacent sea areas meant ) and their percentage distribution among the main critter groups: