Monday, August 2, 2010

635)Global Marine Life Census Reveals New Species From The Deep Ocean, Marvels of God's Creation; Quotes From Blogpost Four Hundred.

"Islam is fundamentally in its very nature a natural religion. Throughout the Quran God's signs (Ayats) are referred to as the natural phenomenon, the law and order of the universe, the exactitudes and consequences of the relations between natural phenomenon in cause and effect. Over and over, the stars, sun, moon, earthquakes, fruits of the earth and trees are mentioned as the signs of divine power, divine law and divine order. Even in the Ayeh of Noor, divine is referred to as the natural phenomenon of light and even references are made to the fruit of the earth. During the great period of Islam, Muslims did not forget these principles of their religion." (Aga Khan III, April 4th 1952, Karachi, Pakistan)

"...As we use our intellect to gain new knowledge about Creation, we come to see even more profoundly the depth and breadth of its mysteries. We explore unknown regions beneath the seas – and in outer space. We reach back over hundreds of millions of years in time. Extra-ordinary fossilised geological specimens seize our imagination – palm leaves, amethyst flowers, hedgehog quartz, sea lilies, chrysanthemum and a rich panoply of shells. Indeed, these wonders are found beneath the very soil on which we tread – in every corner of the world – and they connect us with far distant epochs and environments.And the more we discover, the more we know, the more we penetrate just below the surface of our normal lives – the more our imagination staggers. Just think for example what might lie below the surfaces of celestial bodies all across the far flung reaches of our universe. What we feel, even as we learn, is an ever-renewed sense of wonder, indeed, a powerful sense of awe – and of Divine inspiration"(Aga Khan IV, Delegation of the Ismaili Imamat, Ottawa, Canada, December 6th 2008)For the full version of this quote see:

"Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth; in the alternation of the night and the day; in the sailing of the ships through the ocean for the profit of mankind; in the rain which Allah sends down from the skies, and the life which He gives therewith to an earth that is dead; in the beasts of all kinds that He scatters through the earth; in the change of the winds, and the clouds which they Trail like their slaves between the sky and the earth; (Here) indeed are Signs for the people of intellect"(Noble Quran)

"One hour of contemplation on the works of the Creator is better than a thousand hours of prayer"(Prophet Muhammad, circa 632CE)

"Indeed, one strength of Islam has always lain in its belief that creation is not static but continuous, that through scientific and other endeavours, God has opened and continues to open new windows for us to see the marvels of His creation"(Aga Khan IV, Aga Khan University, 16 March 1983, Karachi, Pakistan)

Global marine life census reveals new species from the deep ocean

UBC biologist among scientists compiling inventory of underwater lifeforms

By Darah Hansen
Vancouver Sun
August 2, 2010

Imagine living in the sea where it is permanently dark, cold, and food is hard to find. For many animals at depth it may be weeks to months between meals. If you find something to eat, you have to hang on to it. This is why so many deep-sea fishes have lots of big teeth. This dragonfish even has teeth on its tongue! They would be terrifying animals if they weren’t the size of a banana

(Photograph by: Dr. Julian Finn, Museum Victoria, Vancouver SunVANCOUVER - Meet the manylight viperfish, the Everyman of the deep ocean.)

The fish, a toothy critter with a rare ability to survive in unsuitable environmental conditions, has been recorded in more than one-quarter of the world's marine waters, making it one of our most cosmopolitan marine species — at least among those we know of.

That's just one of the many findings of a newly released landmark census aimed at answering one of humanity's oldest questions: What lives in the sea?

The census, which involved hundreds of scientists in more than 80 nations, and took 10 years and an estimated $650 million to complete, has so far gathered together an inventory of 114,000 known species, from the great white shark to the unassuming sea sponge.

By October, when an updated report is scheduled to be presented in London, England, the species tally is expected to exceed 230,000, with scientists adding new discoveries almost every day.

"We have over 5,000 things in jars that people are pretty sure are going to be new species when they get around to looking at them, and there are over 1,200 new species that have actually been described," said Ron O'Dor, a University of British Columbia-educated biologist and senior scientist with the census project.

It's the world's first inventory of marine species found in 25 of the world's key marine regions. The goal was to lay down a baseline on which to measure future changes to the marine environment.

"You can't manage an ecosystem if you don't know what's in it," said O'Dor, now a professor at Dalhousie University.

The census sprang out of the Convention of Biodiversity in the mid-1990s when world leaders began to take formal notice of the growing threat to species and ecosystems caused by human activities. American scientists were first to realize they were unable to create a comprehensive list of what lived in the nation's marine waters because the information didn't exist in an accessible format.

"And there wasn't another country in the world that could do it," O'Dor said.

"We didn't even know how many species have been recorded because that information has never been assembled in any one place before," he said.

Over the past decade, the census has consolidated a remarkable 30 million records and more than 800 databases contributed by institutions around the world. Each record consists of an identification of a particular species in a particular place. Some of the records stem from historical information gathered hundreds of years ago.

O'Dor said the information has been useful in allowing scientists to study patterns and trends in species' diversity, distribution and, wherever possible, abundance.

Australian and Japanese waters, which each features almost 33,000 known species, were found to be by far the most biodiverse of the 25 areas reported to date. The oceans off China, the Mediterranean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico round out the top five.

Experts say the number of known, named species range from about 2,600 to 33,000, but average about 10,750 across the regions.

The species fall into a dozen groups, led by crustaceans (including crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, krill and barnacles).

On average, about one-fifth (19 per cent) of the known species present in a region are crustaceans, followed by mollusks (17 per cent, including squid, octopus, clams, snails and slugs) and fish (12 per cent, including sharks).

Some of the best-known marine animals, including whales, sea lions, seals, sea birds, turtles and walruses, make up only two per cent of our ocean's biodiversity.

Canada's east, west and Arctic were among the key regions included in the project.

According to the census data, the eastern region yielded records for 3,160 plant and animal species. A quarter of the records fall under the category of crustacea.

Out west, 2,636 species were recorded, with plants and algae totalling 38 per cent.

More generally, O'Dor said the much older and deeper Pacific Ocean is more diverse than the Atlantic.

"Biodiversity accumulates over a long period of time, through evolution and immigration," he said.

What lives in the Arctic, meanwhile, is more difficult to measure due to year-round ice cover.

"Scientists simply can't get to the water most of the time," said O'Dor.

The census recorded 3,038 species in the Canadian arctic, mainly plants and algae (36 per cent) and crustacea (24 per cent).

O'Dor said technological advances in the 10 years since the census work began have given the project an enormous boost globally.

In one case, U.S. researchers were able to map a school of herring the size of Manhattan by using cutting-edge waveguide acoustic technology.

Unmanned submersible vehicles now allow scientists to probe the ocean's greatest depths, including the Mariana Trench, while a Norwegian-designed, silent-running ship, containing the world's most powerful sonar system, can spot a tiny shrimp at 3,000 metres.

"There is no place that we can't get information from," O'Dor said.

Scientists are hoping to produce another census by 2020. O'Dor and others are keen to measure the impact of climate change, overfishing, pollution and other human activities on the world's water.

With about half the world's oxygen supplied by the ocean, the value of the project is vital, he said.

"It's like flying an airplane that is held together by rivets and the rivets are popping off. You are never quite sure how many can pop off before the plane falls apart and crashes to the ground," he said.

Earlier post on this topic:

Marvels Of Allah's Creation: Census Of Marine Life Discovers 5000 New Species In Ocean; Quotes From Blogpost Four Hundred.

Easy Nash

In Shia Islam, intellect is a key component of faith. Intellect allows us to understand the creation of God: Aga Khan IV(2008)
The Qur'an itself repeatedly recommends Muslims to become better educated in order better to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
The Quran tells us that signs of Allah's Sovereignty are found in the contemplation of His Creation: Aga Khan IV(2007)
This notion of the capacity of the human intellect to understand and to admire the creation of Allah will bring you happiness in your everyday lives: Aga Khan IV(2007)
Islam, eminently logical, placing the greatest emphasis on knowledge, purports to understand God's creation: Aga Khan IV(2006)
The Holy Qu'ran's encouragement to study nature and the physical world around us gave the original impetus to scientific enquiry among Muslims: Aga Khan IV(1985)
The first and only thing created by God was the Intellect(Aql): Prophet Muhammad(circa 632CE)