About Nekton

Established in 2015, Nekton is an independent, not-for-profit research institute working in collaboration with the University of Oxford and a UK registered charity.

We explore and conserve the ocean - aiming to support the protection of at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.

Scientific consensus calls for the protection of 30% of the world’s ocean by 2030 to create a resilient ocean and a stable planet. Nekton undertakes missions for and on behalf of island and coastal nations to gather the data needed to galvanise the protection and management of their ocean.

We undertake missions to find out how the ocean is changing and why.


Nekton’s missions are co-developed and co-delivered with island and coastal nations combining scientific research, capacity development, ocean governance and public engagement.

  • Bermuda & NW Atlantic 2016-2018: Supported by an Alliance of 35 partners, the Mission resulted in the discovery of 100 new species and the Rariphotic Zone (130m to 300m), along with reaching a global audience of over 800million and 1 million students.
  • Weddell Sea Expedition 2019: In partnership with the Flotilla Foundation, Scott Polar Research Institute and others, to investigate life beneath the ice and the potential implications of climate change.
  • First Descent 2019-2022 Indian Ocean: Supported by an Alliance of 50 partners, First Descent is a series of expeditions to explore and conserve the world’s most unknown and least protected ocean, The Indian Ocean – aiming to catalyse 30% protection by 2030.

Learn more about the benefits for our island and coastal nation partners.

Yachts for science: In partnership with Boat International, we match marine scientists with private vessels to undertake field research. Participate by registering your science programme or your yacht.

We accelerate our scientific understanding of the ocean to inform and galvanise ocean policy

We undertake multidisciplinary, collaborative scientific research to investigate biological, chemical and physical indicators of change. The multidisciplinary datasets we create establish a scientific baseline of marine life and ocean health from the surface to the depths. This enables accurate marine spatial planning to determine long term conservation priorities for marine protection and management.

Field Research Protocol: We have defined the first multi-disciplinary marine research protocol to generate comparable data on ocean function, health and resilience. Developed with 16 world-leading multi-disciplinary marine scientists. Learn more about GOSSIP: The General Ocean Survey & Sampling Iterative Protocol.

Ocean Data: Octopus: Octopus, The Ocean Tool for Public Understanding and Science (Octopus) is an ocean data portal co-developed with Oxford Martin School and the University of Oxford. Octopus dynamically harvests and harmonises marine data on the changing state of the ocean for science and governance. Visit Octopus

Capacity Development: We invest in the skills, expertise, knowledge and networks across ocean management, conservation, ocean literacy and marine science to ensure a legacy of long-term sustainable ocean governance. Find out the key elements of our capacity development programme

We make the world listen and care for the ocean.

No longer will the deep ocean be out of sight and out of mind. The transparent hulls of our submersibles combined with subsea live broadcast technology has enabled global audiences to witness people and stories from the deep. Our most recent mission in the Seychelles enabled the first live subsea news bulletin, and the first live subsea presidential address.

Our global programmes of public engagement and education follow the voyage of our aquanauts and scientists into the last great unknown frontier on our planet to inspire ocean awareness and accelerate ocean literacy, giving decision makers a public mandate to act.

Our content increases ocean awareness and strengthens public support for political action. We promote marine tourism as a pillar of the blue economy and create new Ocean Leaders in the local, regional and international spotlight.

Watch our content on YouTube and follow us on Instagram.