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The Three Oceans of Biodiversity: A Canadian National Plan 2004-2009 aims to bring together the scientific community to focus research on marine biodiversity in Canada 's three oceans, the North Atlantic (including the Gulf of St. Lawrence ), Arctic and North Pacific. This includes a census of marine life as well as an understanding of the processes that influence biodiversity. This National Plan specifically calls for the documentation of marine species in Canada , including their distribution, with an emphasis on Arctic marine species, species living below 300 m depth and microfauna (Goal 2). In order to understand the role biodiversity plays in the functioning of marine ecosystems it is suggested that reference sites ("discovery corridors") be identified and established (Goal 5).

The Centre for Marine Biodiversity in collaboration with the US Gulf of Maine Census of Marine Life Program and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Canada organized a workshop to begin the process of implementing this aspect of the National Plan. The workshop was held in January 2004 from which a steering committee was struck to take this process forward.

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