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Ocean Exploration Trust Partners with Ocean Census to Accelerate Ocean Exploration and New Species Discovery

OET joins mission to accelerate the discovery of ocean life.

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Ocean Census is excited to announce a partnership with Ocean Exploration Trust (OET) and the Nautilus Exploration Program, the aim of which is to explore the ocean, seeking out new discoveries in the fields of geology, biology, maritime history, archaeology, and chemistry while pushing the boundaries of education, outreach, and technological innovation.

OET joins an existing network of Ocean Census Alliance partners working together to accelerate the discovery of ocean life, catalyse its protection, and build human capacity, creating an inclusive legacy within the marine science field.

“We are thrilled Ocean Exploration Trust is taking an important role in the global effort to discover and protect ocean life. Only through joining forces with organisations like OET can the Ocean Census Alliance operate at the scale and speed the ocean needs.”

Oliver Steeds, Director, Ocean Census

Scientists maintain that we have discovered little more than 10% of the species that live in the ocean, despite it being home to an estimated 2.2 million species. The rate of discovery has remained relatively unchanged since the 1800s, with approximately only 2,000 new ocean species described per year.

However, recent technological advances in high-resolution imaging, DNA sequencing, and machine learning mean that scientists can now considerably accelerate the process. OET and Ocean Census will collaborate broadly on species discovery efforts, including protocols for cyber-taxonomy, developing new technology for studying ocean life, and executing expeditions for future discovery.

“Nautilus explores areas of the deep sea that have rarely, if ever, been seen by human eyes. Our partnership with Ocean Census will help accelerate the discovery and identification of new species in these areas whilst ensuring local communities are appropriately involved in the entire process. Together, OET and Ocean Census will facilitate the discovery of new species from the deep sea — the largest habitat on Earth.

Allison Fundis, COO, Ocean Exploration Trust

For more than 15 years, OET has led expeditions around the world, generating a rich foundation of publicly-accessible data to enable follow-on research and management activities to better understand and care for the ocean. With all data and samples collected on E/V Nautilus expeditions submitted to publicly-available repositories, this partnership with Ocean Census will provide more streamlined pathways for new species discovery.

The two organsations also have a shared mission to inspire global audiences to learn and care for the ocean. Audiences worldwide can join the 24/7 live-streaming expeditions from the deep sea and social media. Using telepresence technology, schools, camps, and community events are encouraged to engage with explorers at sea, through live, interactive Q&A sessions. Scientists are also able to collaborate on missions.says Fundis.


Raissa Hogan joined Ocean Exploration Trust’s 27-day Johnston Atoll (Pacific) Expedition as an Ocean Census Science Network member scientist, part of a programme of work to build more opportunities for species discovery. Read more.

Ocean Census is actively partnering with a range of organisations to grow an alliance committed to accelerating the discovery of ocean life. Those interested in getting involved should get in touch.

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