Pic o’ the week – tiny sea life

A one-centimeter large larval-tube Medusae anemone. It’s already begun fishing for food with its tiny tentacles and its dark stomach indicates it’s finding food.

This image was taken as part of the Census of Marine Life, a 10-year collaboration among more than 2,000 scientists from 80+ nations. The census, which will be released later this year, is the first-ever effort to create a catalog of marine life in our oceans — and thus provide us a baseline of its diversity, distribution, and abundance.

Four of the Census’s 14 studies are focusing on ‘hardest-to-see’ sea creatures — tiny microbes, zooplankton, larvae and burrowers in the sea bed, which together underpin almost all other life on the planet. They’ve discovered an astounding number of new species.

As Dr. John Baross put it, “This is a huge frontier for the next decade.”

Another big benefit for the oceans? “The Census has helped develop a world view,” says Dr. Ann Bucklin, head of the marine zooplankton portion of the census, “and all of us who work in the field have treasured that.”

Photo by Cheryl Clarke-Hopcroft/UAF/CMarZ