A ten year international study (2000-2010) has been undertaken by marine scientists in 80 countries to survey life in the sea. This is the Census of Marine Life.
Findings from the census have been published in the Public Library of Science collections, and are entitled Marine Biodiversity and Biogeography - Regional Comparisons of Global Issues.
Included in the collection are the papers Marine Biodiversity of Aotearoa New Zealand (authored by researchers at NIWA - the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) and A Census of Marine Biodiversity Knowledge, Resources, and Future Challenges. The lead author of the second paper is Dr. Mark Costello, an Associate Professor at the Leigh Marine Laboratory at the University of Auckland.
There is a press release from the Census of Marine Life which is accompanied by an image and video gallery.
The findings of the census has excited considerable media interest in New Zealand and around the world. Among the results were that some 60 to 80 percent of sea species remain undiscovered. The census is due for completion in October.
The Science Media Centre has a slideshow put together by Dr. Mark Costello and Dr. Alison MacDiarmid (from NIWA) on the news:
What's in the sea? Census of Marine Life marine biodiversity roll call
The story has been carried by over three dozen daily newspapers and many radio and tv networks. Below are only some examples of the media coverage nationally and internationally:
New Zealand Media Stories:
NZ scientist completes marine life census (stuff.co.nz website)
New Zealand Herald featured the census in the Review section of Saturday August 7:
Our taonga beneath the sea
Ocean dwellers miss the census
An eye on marine life
New Zealand waters host unique marine life, study finds (this is a link to the audio from Radio New Zealand, Morning Report, 4 August)
NZ stars in global census of marine biodiversity (link to TV3 website news item)
International Media Stories:
Gulf Diversity Threatened even Before Oil Spill (CBS News, USA)
First Global Census of Marine Life (The Guardian, UK, with an interactive map)
Also from the Guardian, How did they count all the fish in the sea?
Census of marine life released (Nature magazine)