Cataloging ocean species

    A worldwide effort to catalog all the species in the ocean has amassed more than 120,000 names — and scientists are only half-finished. From WHYY’s Health and Science Desk, Kerry Grens Reports.

    A worldwide effort to catalog all the species in the ocean has amassed more than 120,000 names — and scientists are only half-finished. From WHYY’s Health and Science Desk, Kerry Grens Reports.

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    Transcript:

    On the top floor of the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia are aisle after aisle of cabinets — inside their stacks of drawers are brimming with shells.

    Rosenberg: this is the second largest mollusk collection in the world. We have about 10 million specimens and they are in about half a million cataloged samples.

    Gary Rosenberg is in charge of the collection.
    He is also compiling all the known mollusk species in the world for the census of marine life, which began a few years ago.

    Rosenberg: there’s more than 50,000 species of mollusks that have been identified in the oceans, and we think that there’s at least twice that many. So a lot of discovery left to do.

    Rosenberg estimates just in the stacks of the academy there are thousands of species waiting to be discovered.

    The goal of the census is to accelerate the pace of finding and cataloging unknown species, which can help conservation managers understand what animals and plants are there — and how they adjust to changes in climate and habitat.
    The census organizers expect to be complete with a list of known species by 2010.

    From WHYY’s Health and Science Desk I’m Kerry Grens.

    Snail Collection at the Academy of Natural Sciences

    New Hawaiian snail

    Gary Rosenberg

    Giant Clam

    Nautilus

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