World Ocean Census - Extract 3 - Ice Oceans

24 December 2009

Third amazing extract from The World Ocean Census: A global survey of marine life: Ice Oceans

Two Census field projects are studying the ocean at Earth’s poles. To do so, they require specially equipped ice-breaking ships and highly sophisticated sampling gear to study the entire water column from surface ice to the ocean bottom. The Arctic Ocean Diversity (ArcOD) project’s goal is to assemble existing knowledge of biodiversity in this least-known ocean, direct new international explorations using new technologies, and create a framework for understanding and predicting biological changes in an ocean that contains rapidly melting ice.

Like its northern counterpart, the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) project is collecting rich biological data on the Southern Ocean and encouraging biodiversity sampling by all cruises that visit the region. CAML led 18 expeditions during the International Polar Year that ended in the spring of 2008. The goal is to couple this new understanding of biology with the complex current dynamics that control life throughout the global ocean. 

Text and images reprinted with permission from World Ocean Census: A Global Survey of Marine Life by Darlene Trew Crist, Gail Scowcroft and James M. Harding Jr., Firefly Books, 2009.

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