One of the greatest moments of my career was being invited to serve as editor at PLoS One. This moment was surpassed by the day I launched the Marine and Aquatic Science Section at PLoS One in early 2009. I was glad to serve PLoS One, develop and build the Marine and Aquatic Science section, recruit an excellent team of academic editors, and serve as the section editor. PLoS One Marine and Aquatic Sciences has continued to grow with 166 articles to date. Stuart Humphries, the current section editor, has done a wonderful job ensuring quality open-access science is published and continuing to develop a superb editorial staff.
2010 sees the end of the Census of Marine Life, a ten year effort to catalog and explore the biodiversity of world’s oceans. This year and next you will see a great variety of expert science papers communicating the findings of this massive effort. Many of these papers will be published in PLoS One Marine and Aquatic Science. I again commend Humphries, the chief editor Peter Binfield, and the editorial staff at PLoS One for both providing a home and highlighting this fantastic work.
Today PLoS ONE unveiled their newest collection, a group of papers on a central theme, on marine biodiversity and biogeography. This collection will continue to grow and currently includes 11 papers with two insightful overviews.
As part of [the Census of Marine Life], participating nations and regions generated new syntheses of marine biodiversity knowledge in their adjacent waters. These summaries are collected here. Each paper describes the physical, geological, chemical, and biological characteristics of the region, provides a brief history of research and species discovery, and gives insight into the role of Census activities in promoting and synthesizing this information. These articles bring together teams of regional experts to identify strengths and gaps in taxonomic capacity and ecological knowledge, potential focal areas for biodiversity research, and threats to marine biodiversity that span fishing disturbance, habitat destruction, invasive species, pollutants, and climate change. They provide species inventories and document patterns of endemism within different taxa, and they identify biogeographic regions and taxonomic groups with the greatest potential to yield new discovery. Individually these articles provide insights that can reveal regional needs and promising directions for future research; collectively they establish a baseline for further global assessments and identify mechanisms for future international collaboration