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Science

Brilliant Pics of Bizarre Sea Critters 63

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the tales-from-mos-eisley-cantina dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Today, scientists have announced the completion of the first ever Census of Marine Life. The colossal 10-year effort involved 2,700 researchers from 80 countries. To mark the occasion, Discover's blog 80beats has a photo gallery of some of the most marvelously strange sea creatures photographed in the course of the census. The blog post also explains some of the census's most important findings, including the dramatic decline of many commercially important large marine animals, and troubling new evidence of a decline in the phytoplankton that serves as the base of the marine food chain."
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Brilliant Pics of Bizarre Sea Critters

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  • What's up with one that looks like a sad face?
  • It amazes me (Score:5, Insightful)

    by LiquidLink57 (1864484) on Monday October 04, 2010 @12:55PM (#33785430)
    We seem to want to look toward space, toward distant planets trying to find even scant evidence of strange, spectacular creatures. And yet ones as strange and spectacular as you can imagine remain undiscovered right here at home.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      We seem to want to look toward space, toward distant planets trying to find even scant evidence of strange, spectacular creatures. And yet ones as strange and spectacular as you can imagine remain undiscovered right here at home.

      Just give 'em more mercury.

    • Re:It amazes me (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Monchanger (637670) on Monday October 04, 2010 @01:27PM (#33785780) Journal

      I think that depends on one's definition of "strange". Sure there's definitely room for marine biologists, physicists and chemists to learn from creatures inhabiting the deep. But all these newly discovered lifeforms are, as strange as they seem, still just distant cousins, restricted to evolutionary limitations. Glibly put, there are only so many fields which care about yet one more species of jellyfish.

      Scientific knowledge would grow by leaps and bounds with something truly alien. They'll settle for unrelated carbon-based life, but would love to study something which doesn't even have that in common. Other fields of science would absolutely love locating sentient life. I'm not sure how much spending that's worth, but it's far from worthless.

      • by careysub (976506)

        I think that depends on one's definition of "strange". Sure there's definitely room for marine biologists, physicists and chemists to learn from creatures inhabiting the deep. But all these newly discovered lifeforms are, as strange as they seem, still just distant cousins, restricted to evolutionary limitations. Glibly put, there are only so many fields which care about yet one more species of jellyfish.

        Scientific knowledge would grow by leaps and bounds with something truly alien. ...

        Studying all of the accessible regions of the Earth to inventory the most extreme and divergent forms of life is our best training ground for eventually detecting "truly alien" life. As noted in the census summary report (go to the website to download) every environment in the ocean, no matter how extreme, was found to harbor life, and the diversity of extremophiles that were discovered just exploded. If we do not understand the potential of our own forms of life to exploit extreme environments, we will be

        • we will be poorly prepared to know where or how to look to identify "truly alien" lifeforms

          That's certainly true. We perhaps wouldn't think to search certain planets for Earth-like life, since we mistakenly assume we know its limitations.

          At the same time however, we'd perhaps be less arrogant to think we know the limitations of alien life and the environs to which it would be be restricted and so look anywhere. Given an assumption that there are plenty of Earth-like worlds in the cosmos, why restrict ourselves from looking at least on those worlds? It's certainly not necessary (nor often possi

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Urkki (668283)

      We seem to want to look toward space, toward distant planets trying to find even scant evidence of strange, spectacular creatures. And yet ones as strange and spectacular as you can imagine remain undiscovered right here at home.

      You wish we want to look towards space. In reality "we" on average want to look towards a TV set or a gaming/internet device.

      Fortunately some of us are still looking towards space, while others are also looking into the oceans (as proven by TFA). Even with all the attention wasted on rectangular displays showing imaginary things, or at best irrelevant trivia, we may still have hope.

      • by Nutria (679911)

        Fortunately some of us are still looking towards space

        Fortunately, because you like hard radiation, needing to carry *everything* with you, effectively infinite distances and a strong vacuum yet enough hydrogen that Really Fast ships would destroy themselves bumping into hydrogen atoms?

        People need to give up the fiction that we'll ever live anywhere but this God-forsaken rock.

        • by Urkki (668283)

          Fortunately some of us are still looking towards space

          Fortunately, because you like hard radiation, needing to carry *everything* with you, effectively infinite distances and a strong vacuum yet enough hydrogen that Really Fast ships would destroy themselves bumping into hydrogen atoms?

          People need to give up the fiction that we'll ever live anywhere but this God-forsaken rock.

          Extrapolating from the current state of the world and considering the pace of historical development, I'd say race to the asteroids will be held between India and China, with so called "western world" playing an important support role. Once there are a few semi-self-sustaining outposts on asteroids, things will start to progress on their own "evolutionarily" by economic pressure. Until then heavy governmental investment is needed, to get this development started.

          And when you think of an asteroid habitat, pl

          • by Nutria (679911)

            Once there are a few semi-self-sustaining outposts on asteroids

            Supported by *what*?

            Instead think of advanced materials that currently are in labs or in theoretical calculations only

            All that high-tech wizardry needs a serious support infrastructure, which they won't have.

            Not only that, but it appears that mammalian embryos need gravity to develop [riken.jp], and there's not enough gravity on any of the asteroids.

            • by Urkki (668283)

              Once there are a few semi-self-sustaining outposts on asteroids

              Supported by *what*?

              Instead think of advanced materials that currently are in labs or in theoretical calculations only

              All that high-tech wizardry needs a serious support infrastructure, which they won't have.

              Not only that, but it appears that mammalian embryos need gravity to develop [riken.jp], and there's not enough gravity on any of the asteroids.

              What you mean "supported by what"? Supported by local production of essentials, probably mostly using solar energy and locally available matter.

              I was talking about advanced materials that are needed in small enough amounts to be brought from earth, or simple enough to produce so they don't need "serious support infrastructure". I mean, that's kind of a given, materials that can't be used aren't worth wasting much thought on... Besides, it's not far fetched to speculate that mass production of fullerenes (or

              • by Nutria (679911)

                Supported by local production of essentials, ... and locally available matter.

                You need factories and mines to do that.

                probably mostly using solar energy

                Huge solar panels in a field of rocks whizzing around at thousands of kph?

                simple enough to produce so they don't need "serious support infrastructure".

                If it's that simple to produce, it's not that advanced.

                However, semi-self-sufficient by definition will get supply ships from earth

                Really Expensive supplies, that would make the operation uneconomical.

                • by Urkki (668283)

                  "Field of rocks" a threat to solar panel installations? You don't quite realize how big and empty space is, do you? :-)

                  • by Nutria (679911)

                    You don't quite realize how big and empty space is, do you?

                    You don't realize how ginormously humongous the solar panels would have to be that far out to support a semi-sufficient colony that needs to manufacture stuff, how that raises the odds of them getting regularly hit, how many pebble-sized "asteroids" are there, how fast they move, or how "it only takes one", do you?

                    Remember, the Sun is *really small* that far away. This [worldcultu...torial.com] is the Sun from Mars, so you can imagine (well, maybe *you* can't) how much smal

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Bertie (87778)

      And we're busily killing them off.

  • Remember the old Em:t record label that published a bunch of early electronic music. They're album covers had a picture of some really exotic marine or land life on it. Nice to know they won't be lacking for new album covers - if they ever come back into business...
  • Census? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by capnchicken (664317)

    Isn't a census where you count every member of a population? Given that you can't really do that for every sea creature aren't they using the term as kind of a misnomer? Obviously a ten year multi-thousand scientist effort at getting an overwhelmingly good sampling needs to be called something, but a census of the fish in the sea it is not.

    • Re:Census? (Score:4, Informative)

      by flaming error (1041742) on Monday October 04, 2010 @01:13PM (#33785644) Journal

      > Isn't a census where you count every member of a population?

      No. It's where you count as many as you can, and from that number, estimate the total.

      Etymology Latin, from cnsre to assess

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Etymology Latin, from cnsre to assess

        No wonder Latin died off... not enough vowels.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      Isn't a census where you count every member of a population? Given that you can't really do that for every sea creature aren't they using the term as kind of a misnomer?

      I think they know that, but here's [coml.org] their "about" page.

      It's as complete as it has even been, and they've been working on it for a decade. I'm sure they know it's not 100% coverage, but they probably need to be able to explain it to lay-people.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by calderra (1034658)
      A census is an attempt to measure the populace. You can measure as much as you can, then guess at the rest, which is what every population census tries to do. (We measured X immigrants, and we know that's not all of them, but with reasonable certaintly we can assume there are between W and Y immigrants).
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by alta (1263)

      No a census is when you hire WAY more people than necessary, forgoing all logic and prudence, in an effort to ease the unemployment rate on the population. Then the first month after you bask in the glory of how you have reduced unemployment. Then you admit that it was temporary once the right people start pointing out what you did. Then 6 months after you hired all of these already redundant people you let them all go...

      It would have been cheaper to just send them their check instead of creating all the

  • coml.org images (Score:5, Informative)

    by slshwtw (1903272) on Monday October 04, 2010 @12:59PM (#33785484)
    coml.org Image Gallery [coml.org] (since for some reason I can't seem to find where the pictures are on the discover blog)
    • by slshwtw (1903272)
      OK, now I see that the discover blog images just didn't load for me due to slashdot effect.
    • Erm, no. (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      It's not slashdotted. It loads quickly and correctly for me on residential broadband.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    ...show a decline?

    Wouldn't this census establish the baseline?

  • by Chuckles08 (1277062) on Monday October 04, 2010 @01:18PM (#33785700)
    Another great thing about the Census is that much of the information is feeding into the Encyclopedia of Life project (www.eol.org [eol.org]) with the content being shared under a Creative Commons license.
  • Ok, this may not show up for everyone, but under the title of the post, I see icons for reddit, facebook, sharethis, and FARK?

    Seriously FARK? I mean I thought discovery was a serious company. Fark is far from serious. It's a bunch of people posting jokes, NSFW stuff and photoshopped images... Why FARK?

    incidently, I haven't been to the fark site in a few years.... time to waste a few hours catching up.

    • Why not FARK. Page views are page views. Might be nice to get the unwashed masses thinking (well, in a general manner of speaking) about something else than sex.

      I was looking at the gallery page trying to figure out which viewer they used (SimpleViewer, alas, Flash), one of the comments:

      //to fix u know who

      caught my eye. Some things never change.

      • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        >> Might be nice to get the unwashed masses thinking (well, in a general manner of speaking) about something else than sex.

        On Fark this would become a tentacle porn thread in under five posts.

    • Why FARK?

      Although I share your dismay at even the thought - the answer is: Because it brings in page hits.

  • by rleibman (622895) on Monday October 04, 2010 @05:36PM (#33788542) Homepage
    How do they taste?
  • There are a couple of Canadian members of the steering committee. I wonder if they got pressure to make the census voluntary?

If I have seen farther than others, it is because I was standing on the shoulders of giants. -- Isaac Newton

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