Founding partners
Deep sea cuttlefish surrounded by darkness

Discover Life.

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

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.

Live expedition

Bounty Trough

8 February - 22 March 2024

The  Ocean Census – Bounty Trough research cruise is a 21-day expedition and workshop exploring one of the most remote parts of the deep ocean off the coast of New Zealand’s South Island.

Departing from Wellington, New Zealand onboard R/V Tangaroa, our goal is to sample down to an incredible 5,000 metres.

This project is being undertaken jointly by Ocean Census The National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA), and the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.

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