It's a tough job naming every species in the sea, but somebody's gotta do it. More specifically, the Census of Marine Life. It's an effort to catalog all species of life in the oceans, and has validated 122,500 species names so far, as well as 56,400 aliases that have been applied to the same species over the years.
One species, Halichondria panicea, or the breadcrumb sponge, has been given 56 names in the scientific literature since it was first named in 1766, according to researchers. Poor thing's been in a perpetual state of identity crisis.
The census will provide researchers with a clearer idea of species populations and ultimately, a better understanding for conservation efforts. But with researchers cataloging around 1,400 new marine species each year, experts say it will take more than five centuries to complete the total list. Good luck with that, guys.
- Photos: A Look at Some of the Ocean’s Most Beautiful Tentacles Posted Thu, July 24, 2014
- Ocean News: Green Sea Turtle Makes Longest Migration Ever Recorded, Small Oil Spill Found off of Italy, and More Posted Mon, July 21, 2014
- Ocean News: Blue Whale “Hot Spots” Linked with Busy Shipping Lanes, Massachusetts Bans Shark Fin Trade, and More Posted Fri, July 25, 2014
- North Atlantic Great White Sharks are Rebounding, but that’s Not the Case for All Species Posted Mon, July 21, 2014
- Massachusetts Takes a Step Forward For Sharks Posted Fri, July 25, 2014