Sunday, October 10, 2010
Within the story of the Census of Marine Life are countless smaller stories of how particular locales were studied and what was found. This account from my birth state of Maine relates how said Lewis Incze from the University of Southern Maine coordinated a study involving some 200 researchers led the effort in the Gulf of Maine. Identified were 13 new species and 4,000 named species, more than half of which had not been known to exist there. Incze points out the Census was not just about finding new species, but finding more about every species: one aspect of his own research looked at the interactions between plankton and baleen whales and found subsurface "waves" around a seamount created patterns in plankton distribution that the whales had learned how to take advantage of for maximum feeding opportunities.