Never has there been a more apparent need for information about our ocean resources. However, devising a means of collecting and interpreting data on such a dynamic environment is a daunting task. Recognizing the need for information, the Sloan Foundation has proposed the undertaking of a global “Census of Marine Life”—i.e., a global marine biodiversity Census, and has expended much effort to examine the different aspects of such a survey. The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) agreed to help the Sloan Foundation examine the environmental, conservation and advocacy dimensions of a Census of this nature. This paper represents a synopsis of our investigations.