Founding partners

Discover Life.

We’ve only discovered 10% of ocean life. We can’t protect what we don’t know exists.

It is our mission to change this.

Mission Critical

Ocean life gives us air to breathe, creates food for billions, regulates our climate and provides vital scientific advances to fight disease.

We need to discover and protect ocean life to sustain and benefit all life on Earth, for generations to come.

Rapid evolutions in high resolution imaging, DNA sequencing and machine learning now enable discovery of ocean life at speed and scale.

Ocean Census has five core aims: expeditions to discover new life; advancing science (cyber-taxonomy); enabling open access data to catalyse conservation; innovating and amplifying storytelling to inspire public and policy interest; and building an inclusive, international network of biodiversity scientists.

Our data is open access for science, decision makers and the public for non-commercial use to inform and catalyse the protection of ocean life for future generations. Equity is our DNA (read Equity Principles).

Discover Knowledge.

Ocean Census is a global alliance that aims to accelerate the discovery and protection of ocean life.

About us

Ocean Census is an open network of partners – bringing together philanthropy, government and business with science, media and civil society. It is founded and coordinated by The Nippon Foundation and Nekton.

Launched in April 2023, Ocean Census is headquartered in Oxford, with the first Ocean Census Biodiversity Centre at Oxford University Museum of Natural History.

Ocean Census builds on major programmes of the past including The Challenger Expeditions (1872-1876, the birth of modern marine science) and The Census of Marine Life (2000-2010).

Discover Our Future.

Featured expedition

Barents Sea, Arctic

29 April to 10 May 2023

The first expedition Ocean Census joined was the ‘AKMA3’ cruise, led by the University of Tromsø (The Arctic University of Norway), with collaborators REV Ocean.

Our taxonomists participated to discover life living on the seafloor, including around methane-rich, cold seeps at depths of 100m to 500m.

Species discovery focused on soft corals, glass sponges, sea pens, anemones, echinoids, polychaetes, brachiopods, crustaceans, nematodes and copepods.

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