Sunday, November 09, 2008
The fourth report from the 10-year Census of Marine Life (which began in 2000) is being published. This episode, like the previous reports, includes a great deal of information on new species and the previously unknown habits of old ones. The Census, including work done before the new project kicked off, has enumerated some 230,000 species of an estimated one million living beneath the seas. Recent findings include the odd habits of great white sharks - going as deep as 300m in frequently repeated excursions whose reason is unclear - new zooplankton, comb jellies, bacterial mats, etc., etc. Also, we've learned that many species of octopus have ancestors in the depths near Antarctica, from which they have radiated northward.