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10-year Marine Census Yields 1,200 New Species

Scientists mark the conclusion of a world census of sea life that has brought to light an additional 1,200 new species of marine flora and fauna.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 12/20/2010, 9:14 PM / Last Update: 12/20/2010, 9:29 PM

courtesy of Israel Academy

Scientists gathered Monday in Jerusalem to mark the conclusion of a decade-long world census of sea life that has brought to light an additional 1,200 new species of marine flora and fauna.

Biologists from around the world gathered to share the findings gleaned from the painstaking research conducted by 3,000 scientists who hailed from 80 different countries.

Three Israeli scientists were among those who carried out the planet-wide marine census, the first of its kind ever to be done.

Among the new sea creatures that were discovered is a multi-cell organism that lives without oxygen – the first such creature ever to be identified. An Italian scientist discovered the organism on the floor of the Mediterranean Sea, south of Crete.

The census, which cost $370 million, was directed by Jesse Ausubel, who was present at the event hosted by the Israel Academy of Sciences and the Humanities.

Ausubel has been a key player in the formulation of U.S. and global climate research programs. He is also director of the program for the human environment at Rockefeller University in New York City, and program director for the Afred P. Sloan Foundation.