A worldwide effort is underway to perform a census of the world's oceans, pulling information about species from around the world into one location. The project, known as the Census of Marine Life, now has 122,500 different species on its tally -- after cleaning up over 56,000 scientific names that were in actuality just aliases for other organisms.
The project aims to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life on the planet -- but that's a tall order, with scientists estimating that there may be three times as many species yet to be discovered as have already been described in the scientific literature. In this segment, we'll talk with ocean explorer Sylvia Earle, and check in on the progress of the project. Organizers of the Census of Marine Life say they are about halfway done, on track to complete the effort in 2010. Information from the project is being published in the World Register of Marine Species, an an online encyclopedia of photos and information about all known marine species.
Produced by Annette Heist, Senior Producer