Web visitors can now share the excitement of Census of Marine Life explorations as scientists uncover the mysteries of what lives below the surface of the global ocean. A world of marine discoveries including 50 different kinds of Arctic jellies, a colossal sea star, and Antarctica's biggest-ever amphipod and other interesting, rare, and new marine species can be found at http://earth.google.com/ocean. Or one can follow along on scientific explorations to the coldest, saltiest water on the planet or to a new ocean environment created by an ice shelf break the size of Jamaica or to the hottest hydrothermal vent ever discovered—hot enough to melt lead! These journeys are but a few of the 129 possibilities for learning more about marine life available on the new Census of Marine Life layer in Ocean in Google Earth.
Ocean in Google Earth, which enables user to dive beneath the surface of the sea and explore the world's oceans, was launched on February 2, 2009 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco, CA. "There's no better dive than what's riding along with Census of Marine Life researchers," says Patrick Halpin, a Census of Marine Life scientist and director of the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, Nicholas School of the Environment at Duke University in Durham, NC. "In eight years of expeditions to remote and unexplored places in the ocean, Census of Marine Life scientists have found new life on nearly every expedition.
In the Census layer of this new feature of Google Earth, we provide rare glimpses of interesting new life forms from some of the most remote places on the planet, with stories of the courageous, inquisitive, and adventurous scientists who set out to find what lives below the surface."
The Census of Marine Life is a global network of researchers in more than 80 nations engaged in a 10-year scientific initiative to assess and explain the diversity, distribution, and abundance of life in the oceans. The world's first comprehensive Census of Marine Life - past, present, and future - will be released in 2010.