The Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) recently completed the fieldwork for the biggest ever biodiversity survey in Antarctica, coordinating projects on 18 major research voyages during the International Polar Year.
After analysis of the samples in museums and universities around the world, the data are being shared through the Marine Biodiversity Information Network of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR-MarBIN). This will leave a significant legacy for the International Polar Year, providing access to the data needed to improve our overall understanding of marine biodiversity and its role in the Southern Ocean ecosystem.
The census is now in the data integration and synthesis phase. In October, a workshop at Duke University, North Carolina, used case studies to explore the mapping and visualisation potential of the data. Comparisons between Antarctic and Arctic ecosystems were the subject of an associated workshop entitled ‘Polar Synthesis Macroscope'. This refers to using a ‘zoom’ function to examine biodiversity data at different spatial scales.
A lot of work still remains to be completed and much of the data analysis will extend well beyond the end of CAML in 2010.
CAML Project Manager, AAD