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New census of world's marine species sets ambitious 10-year goal

On April 29, a team of scientists sailed on a research vessel to the chilly waters of the Barents Sea in the Arctic. They aim to find new marine species around cold seeps — cracks on the seafloor from which hydrogen sulfide, methane and other gases bubble up. Near these fissures, species, including soft corals, glass sponges, sea pens and crustaceans, could be waiting to be discovered.

Scientists estimate that only about 10% of marine species have been formally described, and about 2 million species have yet to be identified. A new global initiative called the Ocean Census aspires to change this.

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