As the Census of Antarctic Marine Life (CAML) draws to a close, with a ‘grand finale’ in London in October this year, Project Manager Victoria Wadley reflects on the achievements of the program in the latest issue of the science and technology magazine, International Innovation.

CAML was part of a larger 10 year Census of Marine Life (COML) initiative and the lead Antarctic biodiversity project for the International Polar Year (2007–09), coordinated by the Australian Antarctic Division. But while the census will officially end this year, the analysis and application of the data collected will continue for many years to come.

According to Dr Wadley, the highlights of CAML so far include:

  • a Register of 15 500 different Antarctic marine species spanning 17 phyla from microbes to whales;
  • the contribution of illustrated field guides and DNA sequences for Antarctic marine life to the online version of the Encyclopaedia of Life;
  • 1.1 million records of species occurrences which have been used to produce maps to illustrate the location of particular species;
  • a successful collaboration of over 300 scientists from 30 nations, including the sharing of data through the SCAR MarBIN data portal; and
  • over 1000 scientific publications and taxonomic monographs, in addition to international media coverage, with online web logs from 18 ships in the survey.