Grants Kick Off Ambitious Count of All Ocean Life

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Science  02 Jun 2000:
Vol. 288, Issue 5471, pp. 1575-1576
DOI: 10.1126/science.288.5471.1575

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Last week a proposed "Census of Marine Life" took a big step toward reality when eight research groups were awarded $3.7 million to develop model Internet atlases that display everything from the distribution of squids to the DNA sequences of tiny zooplankton. The projects kick off what could become a 10-year, billion-dollar effort to use everything from dip nets to airborne lasers to enumerate and map marine life. Although some environmentalists worry that identifying hidden populations could unintentionally hasten their exploitation, researchers say that the potential conservation benefits outweigh the risk.