The Congressional Oceans Day on September 25 provided an opportunity for scientists, researchers, and explorers to educate staff members from the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate about ocean science, and update them about hot policy issues such as climate change and the fate of coral reefs, and key ocean-related projects.
Among the major projects is the Census of Marine Life, an international research program conceived in 1997. The 10-year, $l-billion program aims to assess and explore the diversity, distribution, and abundance of marine life, according to Jesse Ausubel of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, a project funder. The census, which plans to support 30 field projects over a decade, already has a commitment for $15 million in start-up funding, and work has started on a half-dozen projects. These include a study of the history of marine animal populations, and the development of an ocean biogeographical information system.