These include bizarre and colourful creatures, as well as many organisms that produce therapeutic chemicals.
A panel of scientists presented these early insights at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting in San Diego.
The final report from the decade-long census will be released in October 2010.
The project has involved more than 2,000 scientists from 80 countries, and the researchers involved believe the census will lay the scientific foundations for marine policies to protect vulnerable habitats. Read more.