World Register of Marine Species inaugurated with first 122,500 validated names, at VLIZ in Ostend (Belgium)
by Ward Appeltans
Marking the World Register's official inauguration, some 55 researchers from 17 countries met in Belgium to plan its completion by 2010. Leading World Register experts independently estimate that about 230,000 marine species are known to science. They also believe there are three times as many unknown (unnamed) marine species as known, for a grand total on Earth that could surpass 1 million.
How many fish (and other species) in the sea?
Census of Marine Life-affiliated scientists (www.coml.org) consolidating world databases of ocean organisms have demoted to alias status almost one-third of all names culled from 34 regional and highly specialized inventories.
The new World Register of Marine Species (www.marinespecies.org) contains about 122,500 validated marine species names (experts having recognized and tidied up some 56,400 aliases - 32% of all names reviewed). It also contains some 5,600 images, hyperlinks to taxonomic literature and other information.