The Census of Marine Life (CoML) is an international science program to assess and explain the diversity, distribution and abundance of marine life, past, present and future. The major components of the program involve history, exploration and modeling, all of which are integrated into an open source database (OBIS: Ocean Biogeographic Information System) for visualization and analysis.
One of the global goals of the Census of Marine Life is to support marine biodiversity research at the national or regional level. The National and Regional Implementation Committees (NRICs) of the program have brought together regional stakeholders, such as researchers, government and non-government agencies, and resource managers, to assess the status of knowledge of marine biodiversity in their waters. These assessments have led to the implementation of more local programs, improved the geographic scope of CoML projects, and promoted the establishment of partnerships, fund-seeking and public awareness.
In the Caribbean, the program began in 2004 by reviewing the state of knowledge of marine biodiversity in 10 countries of the region and establishing links with research and conservation regional programs. Since then, the Caribbean CoML community has continued to grow and is participating in several of the international projects of the Census. The Caribbean Committee is coordinated at Universidad Simón Bolívar, Venezuela.