Interconnected

Ocean Census Finds Web of Marine Life

A census of the world’s oceans—a study 10 years in the making—has found marine life to be far more connected than scientists previously thought, with, for example, a tiny, once-unknown spiky shrimp-like critter discovered off Africa’s Atlantic coast and 8,000 miles away in the central Pacific. Initially, the 2,700 scientists who participated in the study were tasked with counting the world’s seawater species, but that proved impossible. The deep sea, especially, is more woven together more than scientists expected. Researchers discovered a 23-foot-long squid that lives only 3,000 feet below the water’s surface; it has elbow-like bends in its tentacles and large fins. Scientists had only seen it in larvae form before. Bluefin tuna, scientists found, cross the Pacific Ocean three times in just 600 days. Humpback whales travel 5,000 miles. Puffins make a 40,000-mile circular journey each year as they trek from New Zealand to Japan, then Russia, Alaska, and Chile, before heading home.