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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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fish

Scientists in the Marine Science Program will help to deepen our understanding of the ocean by undertaking investigations all over the world and diving into the great ocean depths. Their studies will focus on six key themes:

  • What is the diversity of marine life? (taxonomy)
  • Where do species occur? (biogeography)
  • How are species related to each other? (evolution)
  • How is marine diversity created and maintained? (ecology)
  • How are marine animals and plants used by people? (ethnobiology)
  • What is the human impact on marine life? (conservation)

The Marine Science Program will draw on the largest collections of marine animals and plants in the world: over 33 million specimens. Especially notable within these collections are the invertebrates (crustaceans, echinoderms, mollusks, sponges, and “worms”) and vertebrates (fishes, marine mammals, and sea turtles). The program will draw directly on the cross-cutting expertise of 31 dedicated marine scientists and over 100 researchers who specialize in marine related areas.

Scientific discoveries from this program will equip scientists to provide policy-makers with critical information about which creatures need to be protected and which ecosystems need to be preserved. Without this information, conservation efforts would be hindered as there would be no way to know which organisms are common and which are endangered.

 

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