|The Census of Marine Life in the Caribbean: a biodiversity program|
Miloslavich, P. (2008). The Census of Marine Life in the Caribbean: a biodiversity program. Rev. Biol. Trop. 56(Suppl. 1): 171-181
In: Revista de Biología Tropical. Universidad de Costa Rica: San Jose. ISSN 0034-7744, more
Caribbean, marine biodiversity, Census of Marine Life
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The Census of Marine Life (CoML) is an international science program to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life, past, present and future. The program has three major components which are historical, exploratory and modeling, all of which are integrated into an open source database (OBIS: Ocean Biogeographic Information System) for visualization and analysis. In the Caribbean, the program began in 2004 by reviewing the state of knowledge of marine biodiversity in 10 countries of the region, as well as the establishment of a link between the CoML and research programs and conservation initiatives. An historical project coordinated in the Caribbean deals with integrating, standardizing and synthesizing the data on the early human impact on mollusc populations in a global perspective. This project is generating a Human/Molluscs Interaction Database (HMID) containing high quality historical data, descriptions and interpretations of worldwide events, patterns, processes, and products resulting from the interactions between humans and molluscs through time. Engaged exploratory projects in the Caribbean deal with the biodiversity of the nearshore in seagrass beds and rocky shores (NaGISA), and the deep sea (COMARGE). The Coral Reef (Caricoral) and microbes (ICOMM) projects are currently under organization in the region and have already established clear goals and an action plan for their implementation within a network. The participation of the Caribbean in the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN) has also been engaged. The Caribbean has contributed with the OBIS database through the SIBM (Sistema de Informacion Biogeografica Marina) of the INVEMAR in Colombia. However, there is an urgent need of identifying literature and collections that can be digitalized, georeferenced and incorporated into OBIS. The CoML-Caribbean is open to new partnerships and collaborations both within and outside the region. Within the region, it seeks to (1) integrate researchers in marine biodiversity, (2) consolidate available information on marine biodiversity, (3) learn and exchange ideas about national and regional plans, priorities and conservation policies and (4) maintain a regional committee to support CoML projects. At a global scale, it also seeks to explore opportunities for regional and international cooperation in new developing projects related to marine biodiversity.