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Deep sea cuttlefish surrounded by darkness

Discover Life.

A global mission to accelerate the discovery and protection of ocean life.

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Our mission

We’ve only discovered 10% of ocean life.

Our vast ocean is full of undiscovered life, holding information that is crucial to our planet’s future and our own existence.

This uncharted wilderness is not just a reservoir of life, it’s our source of air, food, climate regulation, and potential scientific breakthroughs.

75-90% of the estimated 1–2 million marine species remain undiscovered.

Understanding and preserving our unseen ocean is paramount, without this how can we offer it protection?

A revolutionary, new approach to the discovery of ocean life is key to a sustainable future and combating the biodiversity crisis.

Find out more about the action we’re taking.

Scientists Looking at Equipment

Discover Knowledge.

Working together to achieve our mission for the ocean.

About Ocean Census

Launched in 2023 by The Nippon Foundation and Nekton, Ocean Census is enabling the development and implementation of a bold strategy and advanced technologies in order to accelerate species discovery worldwide, halt the biodiversity crisis, and meet society’s need for sustainable development.

Our Alliance is key to our success. Together, we’re combating the critical knowledge gap surrounding the diversity and distribution of marine life, by embracing cyber-taxonomy and merging traditional methods with cutting edge science including DNA sequencing, high-resolution digital imaging, and machine learning.

The initiative is inspired by vanguard programmes of the past, including The Challenger Expeditions (1872 – 1976), widely regarded as the birth of modern marine science, and The Census of Marine Life (2000 – 2010).

And we’ve set ourselves an ambitious target – our goal is to discover 100,000 new species within the coming decade and inspire people around the globe.

The Earth as seen from space

Discover Our Future.

Ocean Census Awards

Ocean Census Taxonomy & Science Event Awards


These Awards are set up to provide financial support to taxonomists, biodiversity and citizen scientists involved in marine species discovery to accelerate the pace of discovery.

Taxonomy awards are available from £2,000 to £10,000 to cover areas ranging from travel expenses to projects involving education, or citizen science activities. Awards are contributed by The Nippon Foundation and administered by the Ocean Census.



Small awards to members of the Ocean Census Science Network to attend, represent and promote the Ocean Census at science events.

The Ocean Census have a total of $5,000 split across awards from $500 to $1000 to support travel, logistics, accommodation, subsistence, printing (materials).

Find out more about the Awards


Arctic Deep

3 May - 24 May 2024

The Arctic remains one of the least explored regions on Earth. This is especially true of the Arctic deep ocean, much of its seafloor in Arctic latitudes challenging to explore.

However, within this expansive, deep, and cold environment lie biodiverse habitats teeming with species, many of which remain undiscovered by science.

This groundbreaking expedition is led by The Nippon Foundation-Nekton Ocean Census Alliance, UiT (The Arctic University of Norway), and REV Ocean.

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