Census of Marine Zooplankton

Project Description
The Census of Marine Zooplankton (CMarZ) is a global, taxonomically comprehensive biodiversity assessment of animal plankton, including ~6,800 described species in fifteen phyla.

The Census of Marine Zooplankton (CMarZ) will work toward a taxonomically comprehensive assessment of biodiversity of animal plankton throughout the world oceans (Fig. 1). The project goal is to produce accurate and complete information on zooplankton species diversity, biomass, biogeographical distribution, genetic diversity, and community structure by 2010. Our taxonomic focus is the animals that drift with ocean currents throughout their lives (i.e., the holozooplankton). This assemblage currently includes ~6,800 described species in fifteen phyla; our expectation is that at least that many new species will be discovered as a result of our efforts. The census will encompass unique marine environments and those likely to be inhabited by endemic and undescribed zooplankton species.

Sampling zooplankton in many ocean regions will be accomplished during the first years of the project by coordinating with ongoing, planned, and proposed programs, surveys, and initiatives. CMarZ will also make use of existing data and archived zooplankton collections. The global survey design will be optimized using theoretical and numerical models in collaboration with the CoML FMAP (Future of Marine Animal Populations) project. Sampling systems will include traditional nets and trawls, remote detection, optical sensors, and integrated sensor systems deployed on towed, remotely-operated, or autonomous vehicles and submersibles (Fig. 2). New sampling methodologies are needed to collect and study rare and fragile organisms. Molecular analysis will include determining a DNA barcode (i.e., reference DNA sequence) for each species; describing genetic diversity and structure of populations and species, identifying cryptic species, and reconstructing their evolutionary histories.

Summary provided by http://www.cmarz.org/