Counting sea creatures.
It is believed that only 5% of the world's oceans have been explored so far, but new technologies are opening up new areas of the underwater world every day. In November scientists announced they had discovered 106 new species of fish in 2004 alone as part of the 10-year Census of Marine Life, begun in 2000. More than 1,000 scientists from 70 countries are taking part in the census. Facilitating the exchange of this new information is a publicly accessible database (http://www.iobis.org/). The census database has more than 5.2 million records mapping the distribution of 38,000 marine species, a significant increase from the 1.1 million records of 25,000 species last year. To date about 230,000 marine species have been described by scientists. Census members believe the actual number of species may be 10 times that.