Census of Marine Life One of NY Times’ Best Ideas of 2010
The Census of Marine Life was included in the 2010 Annual Year in Ideas feature in the New York Times Magazine:
Among the “large, active and conspicuous organisms” that no one knew existed is a new species of spiny lobster, Palinurus barbarae, which was found by a Spanish fishing boat on the Walters Shoals in the Indian Ocean, 400 nautical miles south of Madagascar, and classified by South African marine biologists. It’s more than half a meter long. “This was a lobster that had never been described,” O’Dor says.
What O’Dor and his colleagues call “biodiversity’s big, wet secret” is the understudied midwater depths, well below the surface but above the seafloor. There researchers gathered videotaped evidence of big-fin squids, which have extremely large “undulating” fins and whose “long, thin arms and tentacles have a strange elbowlike bend near the body.” They can grow as long as 22 feet and have been glimpsed in four different oceans. O’Dor, a squid biologist himself, explains that taxonomists had already “ID’d the paralarvae, but nobody knew what they grew up to be.” Aaron Retica”