Ocean Census

Ocean Census is a collaborative project between The Nippon Foundation and Nekton and a consortium of collaborating partners that aims to accelerate the discovery of ocean life, providing open access data for the common good and associated knowledge exchange, science to policy initiatives and communications activities. 

The Nippon Foundation and Nekton launched Ocean Census in April 2023, with the aim of revolutionizing our understanding of marine life. Scientists maintain that we have discovered slightly more than 10 percent 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 on protocols for cyber-taxonomy protocols, developing new technology for studying ocean life, and executing expeditions for future discovery.