Founding partners

- News & Insights

Ocean Census and Ocean Genome Legacy Forge Alliance to Revolutionise Marine Biodiversity Research

Partnership aims to catalyse understanding of marine biodiversity

Share article:

Ocean Census, a global mission to discover marine life, is excited to announce a new partnership with Northeastern University’s Ocean Genome Legacy center (OGL), a research laboratory and public-access marine DNA and tissue bank, as part of the growing Ocean Census Alliance.

This collaboration unites the Ocean Census commitment to accelerate the discovery of ocean life with the Ocean Genome Legacy center’s two decades of expertise in marine genomics, with the goal of catalysing our understanding and protection of marine biodiversity.

Initiated by The Nippon Foundation and Nekton in April 2023, Ocean Census has set an ambitious global target to discover 100,000 new species over the decade.

Despite estimations that our ocean is home to 1-2 million species, only a fraction, about 10-25%, has been documented so far. Historically, the pace of species discovery has been steady, with approximately 1,500 new ocean species identified each year since the 1840s. Recent decades have seen a slight uptick, but the introduction of cutting-edge technologies in imaging, DNA sequencing, and artificial intelligence is poised to dramatically accelerate this rate.

OGL is set to play a pivotal role in the global programme, contributing extensive experience in collecting, exploring, preserving and sharing the genomic diversity of the sea to enrich the process of species discovery and documentation. In addition, OGL’s global network of research collaborators will be engaged in Ocean Census, including participating in expeditions, knowledge sharing, and public engagement, strengthening this collaborative initiative.

“In protecting our planet, lack of knowledge is the greatest bottleneck—we cannot protect what we do not know and understand. By exploring the incredible diversity of life in the sea and the rich information hidden in its genomes, we learn the best ways to safeguard our planet’s delicate ecosystems. We are thrilled to join with Ocean Census in this extraordinary expedition of discovery and preservation.”

Prof. Dan Distel, Director of OGL

This alliance between Ocean Census and OGL not only signifies a fusion of expertise, but a commitment to provide open-access to biological samples and data to scientists, policymakers, and the general public, fostering a collective consciousness of our ocean’s biodiversity. Each discovery promises to guide the sustainable management and protection of marine ecosystems.

Ocean Census builds upon significant historical marine exploration initiatives, such as The Challenger Expeditions and The Census of Marine Life.

“Our endeavour is not the first of its kind, but it is undoubtedly the most expansive and timely. Collaborating with OGL enables us to magnify our impact, ensuring that our discoveries contribute profoundly to both our understanding and stewardship of the ocean.”

Prof. Dr. Alex Rogers, Science Director at Ocean Census

The Nippon Foundation of Japan, a private, non-profit foundation for social innovation, and marine research charity Nekton, a UK-based marine science and conservation institute, are coordinating partner activities along with funding and managing the Ocean Census Science Network, species discovery, expeditions, and public and policy engagement activities.

Call for partners to join the Ocean Census Alliance:

Ocean Census is made possible as a result of an Alliance that connects philanthropy with government, business, science, media and civil society organisations.

Every one of our partnerships brings us closer to our goal and enriches our mission by adding diverse knowledge, resources, data and perspectives.

If you share our passion for the discovery and protection of ocean life, join us.

Related articles

Get in touch

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.