Brittlestars swarm on a seamount in an undated picture taken at Macquarie Ridge, an underwater mountain south of New Zealand in 2008.
With mucus-covered feathery spines on their arms, the invertebrates capture microscopic plants and animals from the passing current, scientists say.
(See "'Brittle Star City' Found on Antarctic Seamount.")
CenSeam brought together more than 500 scientists, policy makers, and conservationists from around the world to study the types of marine life that make their homes on seamounts and how the creatures are affected by human activity.
With CenSeam, seamount researchers finally have a way to pool their results and coordinate their projects, noted Karen Stocks, a CenSeam scientist at the University of California, San Diego.
"Historically, seamount research hasn't been coordinated at all," she said. "There would be an expedition, they would go to an individual seamount or seamount chain, and publish their results."