Advances in Marine Biology: 31

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The argument in this paper is based on an interdisciplinary study of scientific collaboration in biology, combining historical, philosophical and sociological perspectives [10] , [11].

Next to an extensive analysis of existing theory on scientific collaboration, empirical research covered various contemporary large-scale collaborations in the life sciences, including the Census of Marine Life. This paper is therefore not a direct result of the History of Marine Animal Populations that is part of CoML and has as its main concern the reconstruction of human-nature relations over time and the exploration of historical exploitations patterns in marine ecosystems.

In contrast, the paper shows the historical development of research into marine biology. Nevertheless, these two subjects are indirectly related, as research into marine life has been influenced by human-nature relations and has also played an important role in shaping those relations. To study CoML as a contemporary collaboration in marine biology, I used qualitative methods, including document analysis, interviews with key actors in the project, and attendance of CoML meetings in the period — Growth is described as part of progress and an inevitable exponent of modern industrial society, while it is also seen as a source of problems.

Accordingly, from its emergence the concept of big science has an ambivalent understanding of growth that is characteristic for the modern condition and which is still very much visible in the two opposing views on big science in the debate on big biology, that emerged together with the Human Genome Project and subsequent increases in the organization of biology. In contrast, according to opponents big biology industrializes, bureaucratizes and politicizes research and dilutes creativity.

In these discussions, the term big science provided the discussants with a strong rhetorical sword, but they never explicitly reflected on the concept itself or the specific ways in which biology became big science. Besides being normative, big science also developed empirical significance, starting with De Solla Price's book that studies transformation in science. This stimulated his work on the quantitative measurement of scientific development and scientometrics [28]. In addition to big science being a quantitative empirical phenomenon, the concept is connected to qualitative studies of scientific transformation.

Against the background of the development of Science and Technology Studies, big science has been used to look into historic and contemporary practices of research collaboration. Detailed case studies of different forms of big science in fields as diverse as astronomy, ecology, physics and space research enriched the empirical understanding of big science [29]. The emergence of large-scale research complexes is perceived as a broader trend and common features are not only found in growing numbers but also in large, expensive instruments, industrialisation, centralisation, multi-disciplinary collaboration, institutionalisation, science-government relations, cooperation with industry, and internationalization.

Themes that also feature prominently in more recent studies of scientific collaboration [12] , [29] , [30]. As a result, the big science concept should be seen as a historic concept that was formed in the s to reflect on increasing dimensions in science, while acquiring different meanings over time: the big science concept has an empirical as well as an evaluative side.

Moreover, when looking at big science empirically, a division can be made between a quantitative and a qualitative perspective and when using the concept to evaluate, positive as well as negative views on big science can be distinguished. Remarkably, discussions on big biology do not reflect on these different meanings, nor use the empirical side of the concept to investigate what kind of transformations actually take place in biology. Although particle physics and space research are identified as typical forms of big science with gravitating activity around large-scale technology, it is biology that has the longest tradition in scientific collaboration all be it on a smaller scale.

Advances in Marine Biology

Traditionally, natural history research took place in the context of the Renaissance, figuring trading nations, empire building and the establishment of scientific societies and national museums and the most important reason for cooperation in biology was the dispersed character of biological material [2] , [3]. Natural historians joined expeditions exploring the unknown world in order to describe, collect and catalogue new species, accumulating facts about plants and animals.

In only around plant species of plants were known; by botanists had added discovered 12, new species, with similar accumulations in zoology. This advanced classificatory schemes— leading to Linnaeus's Systema Naturae [32] and the evolutionary theories of Lamarck [33] and Darwin [34] — but also changed in significant manners the ways in which biologists related and communicated with one another and acquired their research materials; infrastructural developments in transportation and communication technologies were crucial for these first forms of collaboration.

The great scientific voyages of the 18th and 19th centuries — including Charles Darwin's famous journey aboard the HMS Beagle — only explored species near the surface of the ocean, because they had neither access to nor knowledge of the deep oceans. For a long time it was thought that life could only be found there and at the ocean surface, as the absence of light, low temperatures and the density of water in the deep ocean was assumed to prevent life.

Advances in Marine Biology

However, these ideas slowly changed with the development of technologies that made the deep ocean visible [35] — [37]. At first, scientists began to investigate the depth of oceans. Sound to measure depth was first ventured by the Swiss mathematician Colladon in the Lake of Geneva, using a church bell and an ear trumpet. In this method was transferred to the ocean using explosions. In the s the crew of the converted warship Challenger — known as the mothership of oceanography — discovered the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.

As a result, scientists slowly began to realise that the oceanfloor had similar characteristics as the earth's surface, and in the newly established International Hydrographic Bureau published the first bathymetric standardised chart of the world ocean, based on soundings. In the 20th century, ocean research gradually professionalized [38] — [40].

Advances in Marine Biology: Volume 31 by John H.S. Blaxter, Alan J. Southward -

Next to telegraphy, shipping traffic, and the Titanic disaster, the World Wars and the following Cold War were important incentives to develop new technologies to survey the oceans and ocean research became institutionalised. The history of the research vessels used by the institute gives a nice overview of the evolution of research vessels from traditional small sail and steamer ships to the modern big research vessels that are used today [41]. From the s onwards, marine science increasingly became an academic endeavour and the s were even pronounced to be the decade of ocean research.

As a follow-up of the International Geophysical Year, the s were arranged to be the International Decade of Ocean Exploration — , aimed to scale-up ocean research to an international level [42]. As marine biology developed in close interaction with these more general explorations of the oceans, actual observations of life in the deep-sea are of fairly recent date [35] , [36] , [38].

In the 19th century the Irishman Forbes developed and professionalized the art of dredging in order to explore life in the deep. In the course of the 20th century, scientists have increasingly gained access to the deep ocean, facilitating direct observation of life in the deep-sea.

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They spend 20 minutes there and saw a fish, which indicated that even in the deepest ocean life is possible. In short, the investigation of oceanlife developed through interaction between scientific curiosity, societal exploitation of the sea and technological developments. Investigations into the oceans and their living creatures is big science avant la lettre.

However, attention and funds for this branch of science is still very small compared to, for instance, research into space [46] [45]. Nevertheless, today's debates on climate change and biodiversity have granted more prominence to ocean research and efforts such as the Census of Marine Life.

Biology of Mangroves and Magrove Ecosystems (Kathiresam and Bingham, 2001)

Taking the collection work of Charles Darwin and his fellow natural historians some big steps further, the Census of Marine Life aimed to make an inventory of all animal life in the oceans —from the ocean shores to the deep-sea and from the poles to the Caribbean. The story goes that the project started during holidays at the seaside, with two men - Fred Grassle, a professor in benthic ecology at Rutgers University, and Jesse Ausubel, programme officer with the Alfred P.

Sloan Foundation and professor in human ecology at the Rockefeller University in New York - meeting over a beer and discussing the possibilities to put more focus on biodiversity. They came up with the idea of counting the ocean's fishes and started to set-up the project that later became known as the Census, in interaction with the marine biology community and with the support of funding for coordination of research from the Sloan Foundation. CoML comprised seventeen global projects. First of all, fourteen field projects mapped current life in the oceans, varying from the deep-sea to the shores and from Antarctic life to coral reefs.

The results were catalogued into a database by an overarching project.

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Finally, two projects studied respectively the past and present of life in the oceans: the History of Marine Animal Population and the Future of Marine Animal Populations. As a result, the Census existed of a patchwork of projects that was held together by a central governance structure: a Scientific Steering Committee with a secretariat, as well as regional nodes.

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With its objective to catalogue life in the oceans, the Census of Marine Life could be defined as a form of contemporary natural history collaboration. Connections made within the Census were geographical — as it brought researchers from diverse countries together — as well as epistemological, as it brought disciplines together in a multi-disciplinary effort, and fostered diverse research questions and approaches.

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  5. Connections were made on the governance level and in the various research parts of the Census. Although the scientists within a project often already knew each other, the collaboration developed the contacts:. You are able to work with the same samples, with the same goals. For example, we work together with a large group on zooplankton and we worked together on the cruise to gather the samples and now we are also going to work together in the lab to analyse the samples. In this way you can sort things out together and discuss strange things you encounter. In other words, within the Census colleagues became collaborators, enlarging the knowledge of biodiversity within the oceans ecosystems. However, when comparing it with earlier forms of collaboration to collect life, it was also larger, profiting from scientific and technological advancement, transforming research practice and results e. Although natural history has been a collaborative effort from its start, the Census of Marine Life had unprecedented global ambitions, covering all the world's oceans as well as the diverse areas within these oceans, within the 14 field projects.

    While the Census started out as an American initiative, it became an international endeavor with over eighty countries participating. Global expansion was supported by the creation of regional and national nodes in amongst others Australia, Canada, the Caribbean, China, Europe and the Indian Ocean. And next to space, time was an important dimension in the expansion of CoML. While the project itself took 10 years, its research intended to cover past, present and future, explicated in the three overarching research questions: what lived in the oceans, what lives in the oceans and what will live in the oceans?

    For answering such broad and complex questions a global collaborative effort was a requirement. And although the project's goal of counting and mapping all animal life in the oceans was clearly not reachable within one single decade, the final meeting of the Census in October presented many findings as well as some plans to extend the project into the next decade.

    Building on the history of ocean research, the Census made use of the most advanced technologies, and developed them within special technology working groups. Technologies were related to various research practices and stages.

    Advances in Marine Biology: 31 Advances in Marine Biology: 31
    Advances in Marine Biology: 31 Advances in Marine Biology: 31
    Advances in Marine Biology: 31 Advances in Marine Biology: 31
    Advances in Marine Biology: 31 Advances in Marine Biology: 31
    Advances in Marine Biology: 31 Advances in Marine Biology: 31
    Advances in Marine Biology: 31 Advances in Marine Biology: 31
    Advances in Marine Biology: 31 Advances in Marine Biology: 31

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