Ocean Realm Field Projects
The Census of Marine Life supports a set of specially designed global field projects observing organisms in a variety of regions and ways that encompass both exploration and applied benefits. They are designed to demonstrate the effectiveness of new approaches and technologies for the observation of marine life in diverse settings, to set standards and protocols for future surveys, and to build regional-to-global scale species-level biological inventories. All of these projects will contribute information about present marine biodiversity to the final CoML report in 2010.
The CoML Research Plan defines projects by dividing the ocean into “realms” or “zones” based on the technological requirements for performing field studies. These realms and zones are depicted in the generalized oceanographic cross-section below. Each realm project has designed a set of Methodologies, and CoML encourages the widespread use of these to help achieve representative sampling of the oceans by 2010.
There are currently eight field projects underway and several more in development. The major ocean realms are identified below. Follow the links for more information on the realms, zones (sub-realms) and the projects designed for each.
Contains the Nearshore and Coastal zones, and projects on the nearshore, coral reefs, regional ecosystems, and continental shelves
Contains the zones of and projects on Continental Margins and Abyssal Plains
Contains the Light (drifters and swimmers) and Dark (mid-water and bottom-water) zones, and projects on zooplankton, top predators, and mid-ocean ridges
Contains the zones of and projects on Seamounts and Vents & Seeps
Contains the polar zones of and projects on the Arctic and Antarctic
An omnipresent zone that contains the project on microbes
In addition to the Ocean Realm Field Projects, in 2002 several CoML field expeditions were funded under the auspices of the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Ocean Exploration. For more information on these explorations, click here. In 2005, the U.S. National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) funded 5 projects related to CoML under NOPP Goal 4.