Founding partners


Ocean Census is a global alliance uniting to discover and protect ocean life.

Who Are We?

Through our Alliance of influential ocean advocates and wider partnerships, expeditions provide opportunities to discover ocean life and accelerate our global mission, deploying advanced subsea technology that inspires people around the world.

A range of specialists from research institutes, government, philanthropic organisations and civil society are backing our mission to discover ocean life from the surface to full ocean depth.

The Ocean Census Advisory Board, along with a specialist Science Committee, is in the process of being established in order to provide support, guidance and independent oversight of Ocean Census.

The management, governance and core funding of the programme is provided by the founding partners, The Nippon Foundation and Nekton.

Our passionate science community sits at the heart of our mission, brought together through a shared passion to support biodiversity and raise awareness.


Yohei Sasakawa, Chair of The Nippon Foundation

Join Us

We're seeking talented people to join our dedicated team. Explore all of our open roles below.

Founding partners

The Nippon Foundation, the largest non-profit foundation in Japan that was established in 1962 for the purpose of carrying out philanthropic activities in areas that extend from eradicating leprosy, providing free education, food security, and above all, issues that surround the marine environment and maritime safety.

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Nekton is a UK, charitable, marine research and conservation institute. Nekton’s mission is to accelerate the scientific exploration and protection of the ocean through large-scale, expeditionary programmes and targeted initiatives – that combine science, story-telling and equity.

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Our Team

Yohei Sasakawa

Chair, The Nippon Foundation

Yohei Sasakawa is Chair of The Nippon Foundation, Japan’s largest charitable foundation. After 20 years in the business sector, Sasakawa joined the foundation in 1981, became President from 1989 and Chair since 2005. Mr Sasakawa’s leadership brings together entities from the political, governmental, academic, and private sectors in addressing a wide range of issues including health, education, food security and the ocean – the latter notably across ocean science, exploration, conservation, policy and maritime safety.

Mitsuyuku Unno

Executive Director, The Nippon Foundation

Mr. Mitsuyuki Unno is the Executive Director of The Nippon Foundation, Ocean Affairs Department, leading the various ocean related programs including Ocean Census, Seabed 2030 and others developing human capacity and new technologies in the maritime and ocean field. Mr. Unno works with various UN agencies, governments, academic institutions, businesses and civil society organisations around the world to address the complex global challenges facing our ocean today.

Oliver Steeds, OBE


Oliver Steeds is the Director of Ocean Census and the Founder and Chief Executive of Nekton. Formerly he was a critically acclaimed broadcast journalist with ABC, NBC, Channel 4, Discovery Channel 4 and others. He is also co-founder of Encounter EDU including the Ocean’s Academy.

Alex Murphy

Head of Finance

Alex is responsible for Ocean Census’ financial and operational management. After starting her career in practice she soon developed a taste for business and commerce and now has over thirty five years of finance experience spanning a wide variety of commercial organisations and industries, including advertising, publishing, retail, design, architecture, capital delivery within the UK water industry, and construction engineering. Since 2018 Alex has been looking after the financial and operational management of Nekton.

Sandy MacIntrye

Media Director

Emmy and Royal Television Society multiple award winning producer, Sandy MacIntyre, leads Ocean Census media, public and policy engagement, broadcast and social media partnerships and also rolls up his sleeves and leads coverage aboard our expeditions. A veteran frontline editor and reporter, his experience in the news business spans four decades. Prior to Ocean Census, Sandy was Vice President of Global Video for The Associated Press, the world’s largest news agency, and non-executive director of a number of media technology and content providers.

Professor Alex David Rogers

Science Director

Alex is a marine ecologist focused on marine biodiversity and human impacts, notably in the deep sea and on tropical coral reefs. He has led and participated in countless field expeditions including to the Atlantic, Indian and Southern Oceans and to the Caribbean. Alex also advises governments, intergovernmental, NGOs and the media in publicising human impacts, especially those from deep-sea fishing and climate change, and on the development of policy solutions to such problems. Alex is the author of ‘The Deep: The Hidden Wonders of Our Ocean and How We Can Protect Them’.

Dr Sarah-Jane Walsh

Head of Expeditions

Sarah-Jane is Head of Expeditions and works closely with the science team to curate expeditions with the goals of species discovery at the heart – ideally going where no scientist has been before. SJ leads the expeditions team and oversees all elements of expedition delivery from conception to the final delivery of specimens to the biodiversity centre. SJ started her career in marine science expeditions working with Operation Wallacea and Earthwatch while completing her PhD in Coral Bleaching. SJ then worked for 10 years leading wildlife filming expeditions for the BBC and Netflix specialising in diving and extreme environments.

Aimée McAvoy

Digital and Events Manager

Aimée is a freelance Communications and Events specialist focused on developing new programmes and non-profit initiatives for clients including Greater London Authority, Bloomberg Associates and London Film School, after starting her career in Major Events at EventScotland. She previously worked on the award-winning transformation of  The Film and TV Charity, including their Royal Film Performance and a £6m Covid-19 Emergency Response fundraise. She is a member of the PRCA and the Creative Industries Federation.

Tara McDonald

Finance & Operations Coordinator

Tara is responsible for the day to day finance and administration. She assists the Head of Finance and Central Operations with all financial matters. She has over twenty years of finance experience in various organisations and industries including construction and education. Tara is a qualified Open Water Diver and is interested in developing her ability to explore and help protect our ocean. She enjoys a variety of extracurricular activities to include dance and music.

Sarah Hammond

Creative Content Producer

Sarah is the Creative Content Producer for Nekton, supporting Ocean Census to create and share captivating and noteworthy stories about the discovery and protection of ocean life. Although her preferred piece of kit is a stills camera, Sarah has prior experience in live sports productions and motion capture productions for feature films and video games, and enjoys assuming various roles in both production and post-production.

Kira Coley

Head of Communications

Kira Coley leads the strategic implementation of external communications, social media, outreach and events. Previously Head of Communications at Seabed 2030, Kira has worked as Senior Editor for a leading ocean science publication, lecturer in science communication at the University of Portsmouth, and strategic advisor for ocean initiatives including the United Nations Ocean Decade. In 2022, she was shortlisted for ABSW Editor of the Year and nominated for the Inspirational Women of Portsmouth award.

Dr Verity Nye

Science Coordinator

Verity Nye is a marine ecologist who has joined field expeditions in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Caribbean. Notably, Verity undertook a pioneering mission in a deep-diving submersible to volcanic vents situated at a staggering depth of 2.3 km in the Caribbean. Verity’s expertise has informed the UN International Seabed Authority, and she boasts a rich background in marine management within England.

Dr Daniel Moore

Expedition Science Manager

With a background in population genetics, and an interest in marine vertebrates, focused in particular on deep-water sharks, Daniel has led scientific teams around the world, from the Americas and South-east Asia to Antarctica. He is also a Visiting Researcher at the University of Exeter and a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.

Joe Sharman

Expedition Manager

Joe supports the delivery of our fieldwork, conducted in partnership with a range of organisations worldwide. Previously a Project Manager with expertise in biodiversity monitoring and behavioural ecology, employing telemetry and acoustics, Joe has experience in data collection from remote areas across the globe, from the polar regions to the tropics.

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