Founding partners

27 April - 19 May 2024

Philippine Sea


Ocean Census Philippine Sea is a Participant Expedition that aims to explore the Kyushu-Palau Ridge and Minami-Daito Jima Island areas in the north western Pacific. As part of the wider JAMSTEC Ocean Shot Expedition, led by the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), the Ocean Shot Research Grant, and NHK TV, two Ocean Census participant scientists are joining JAMSTEC Principle Investigator Yoshihiro Fujiwara, and other researchers and crew onboard the JAMSTEC research vessel KAIMEI from 27 April to 19 May 2024.

Minami-Daito Jima Island is the largest island in the Daitō Island group southeast of Okinawa, and will see the majority of the research focus. The Kyushu-Palau Ridge is a 2,600-km-long area extending north–south at the center of the Philippine Sea south of Japan. Home to a chain of extinct volcanoes, this diverse area has long fascinated geological oceanographers. Now, it is the potential for new species discovery amongst these intricate habitats that is equally compelling.

Joining the expedition are Ocean Census participant scientists Jann Vendetti and Kurt Bryant Bacharo. Jann is the Malacology (Mollusks) Curator at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, and specialises in Gastropods (snails). Kurt Bryant Bacharo is a Masters Student at the University of the Ryukyus in Japan. Originally from the Philippines, Kurt specialises in Cnidaria, especially black corals.

The 100.5m R/V KAIMEI is one of the world’s most advanced research vessels, equipped with state-of-the-art laboratories and submersibles. One of the most innovative aspects of the upcoming  expedition will be the use of two ROVs operating in tandem to explore and catalogue the deep-sea limestone cave systems and their unique biodiversity.

With a focus on new species discovery, the Ocean Census participant scientists Jann and Kurt bring a diverse skill set aboard, complementing the extensive list of world-leading experts from Japan and abroad. The voyage will also provide an opportunity for knowledge exchange and training in at-sea field skills and taxonomic techniques.

We will be working closely with our participant scientists as well as the JAMSTEC, Ocean Shot, and NHK onboard teams throughout the expedition to share stories, announcements and discoveries.

Be sure to follow @OceanCensus on social media to keep up to date with this fascinating expedition.

Image Credit: JAMSTEC



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Ocean Census supports a range of expeditions and opportunities for scientists to get onboard, helping to add capacity to species discovery worldwide.

Participant Expeditions give specialists from our Science Network and media experts the opportunity to join expeditions led by our Partners, gain at-sea skills, and exchange knowledge with other professionals.

Find out more and get involved by joining our Science Network today.

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With a few days left of the expedition, Jann Vendetti fills us in on the marine wonders of the Philippine Sea.

The team said goodbye to Minami-Daito without ever stepping foot on the island, but having explored some of the biodiversity living in and around its undersea limestone caves. Their ship, Kaimei, headed east toward a series of seamounts along the Kyushu/Palau ridge.

On the flat top of the seamount they’ve explored are expanses of sand and rock void of visible life, interrupted by oases of animals.

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The expedition brings good news from the Kyushu-Palau Ridge exploration, with promising sights of Black Coral.

Yesterday, we managed to collect one whip black coral sample from a 300m depth. We also spotted a few colonies on our dive here. When we first located the colony, almost everyone in the room shouted ‘Tsuno sango‘, which is the Japanese name for black corals.

Philippine Sea Expedition Participant Scientists, Kurt Bacharo, highlights the excitement onboard the JAMSTEC Voyage.

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