Mission Achievements

1. MAJOR SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERIES

Initial research indicates discovery of over an estimated 100 species from the Mission. Researchers have also confirmed the discovery of the Rariphotic Zone – the Rare Light Zone – in depths from 130m to 300m. This zone was first identified by Dr. Carole Baldwin from the Smithsonian Institute and was reported in Scientific Reports. Nekton’s results confirm that a similar zonation of life exists in the water column, and provides additional evidence of this zonation within the biota of the seabed including corals, sponges and algae.for fish. [Read the Press Release, 7th May 2018]. The first peer-reviewed papers have been published, a synthesis of results and total of 20 scientific papers are expected to be published from the Mission by the end of 2018.

Discoveries include:

  • At least 13 new crustacean species including tanaids, gnathiid isopods and leptostracans, discovered by Professor Nick Schizas, University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez
  • Dozens of new species of algae including the deepest ever record to have had its DNA sequenced, by Professor Craig Schneider, Trinity College, USA
  • New Black Coral (stichopathes) identified by Dr. Daniel Wagner. Published in Zootaxa
  • The deepest recorded evidence of Lionfish in Bermuda and the Caribbean– revealing the spread of this invasive species deeper into the ocean than previously known. Published in PeerJ.

All specimens and samples from the Mission are retained in Bermuda have been accesioned into collections at the Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo.

2. MULTI-DISCIPLINARY COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH

Field research was conducted with the aid of the research ships, Baseline Explorer and CCGS Hudson, with technical divers from Global Underwater Explorers operating down to 90metres, two Triton submersibles down to 300metres and a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) down to 1500metres. The team undertook systematic research and exploration of the North West Atlantic Ocean including Bermuda and the Sargasso Sea:

  • 13 different research tools deployed.
  • 400+ submarine hours underwater.
  • Collection and analysis of 40,000 specimens and samples, 240 video transects and 92miles of geophysical data.
  • Scientists from a dozen different marine research institutes involved in field research.

3. CAPACITY DEVELOPMENT & ACCELERATING SCIENTIFIC DISCOVERY

Post-Mission, the Nekton Oxford Deep Ocean Research Institute was established. Centralised and led by Nekton, this new Institute sits at the heart of a network of international laboratories collaborating to achieve rapid sample and specimen analysis, data processing and publication.

  • Scientists from over a dozen institutes and 11 nations involved in research to accelerate data analysis and multiply impact.
  • Six Research Grants to support scientist’s involvement.
  • Pioneered new scientific adaptations for submersibles and divers including water sampling and stereo-video systems.
  • Publication of a new multidiscplinary research protocol to study the State of the Ocean – GOSSIP –The General Ocean Survey and Sampling Iterative Protocol (GOSSIP) - that aims to help transform understanding of the distribution patterns of deep sea life – and the environmental factors that influence them. Published in Oceanography
  • Developing Capacity in Bermuda: Bermudians have been at the heart of the Mission across scientific research and publications, global media and education engagement working hand-in-hand with the Bermuda Government Department of the Environment & Natural Resources, Department of Education, Bermuda Aquarium, Museum & Zoo, Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS), Bermuda Tourism Board, Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute (BUEI), CITV (Bermuda National Broadcaster), Bermuda Royal Gazette and schools across Bermuda.

4. GLOBAL PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT & EDUCATION 

  • 750 million audience reach: (July 2016 - April 2018) with Tier 1 Media - BBC, Telegraph, New Scientist, Guardian, Sky News, Forbes, PBS, Geographical, Sirius XM and Huffington Post (figures independently audited by our partners) 
  • World-class content: Content highlights include 30-minute documentary, 2 X 360-degree mini-documentaries, 11 x video reports, 10 X 360-degree short films
  • New audiences & ocean comedy: record breaking deepest live radio show ever broadcast (with Sirius XM) with participation from Mark Hamill, David Crosby, John Fugelsang, and Lewis Black from the Daily Show.
  • New educational programme: Submarine STEM launched globally with educational resources created in partnership with Digital Explorer and aligned to the UK curricula. Content includes lesson plans, 9 new educational films and dynamic 360-degree films.
  • Sky Ocean Rescue: The Mission has been acknowledged as the spark that inspired Sky Plc to create the Sky Ocean Rescue Campaign that was launched in January 2017. https://skyoceanrescue.com
  • Major ocean events: 20 Keynote speeches at major events globally showcasing the Mission including at UN’s COP22, World Conservation Congress (opened by President Obama), Our Ocean (hosted by Secretary John Kerry), Blue Ocean Film Festival, Royal Geographical Society, Oxford Martin School, London Night of Adventure, Institute of Marine Science, Engineering & Technology, Hull City of Culture, Explorers Club (NYC) and many others.
  • Great Britain Campaign: Off the back of the Mission, Nekton have been selected as an icon of British leadership in science, technology, conservation, exploration and subsea business to become a flag bearer of Global Britain alongside Mclaren, Burberry, Aston martin, Framestore and others. Visit the Great Campaign.

5. CATALYSING OCEAN POLICY

  • New Protected Areas: The image data from the Kelvin Seamount on habitat and species presence has been used by NW Atlantic Fisheries Organisation to help inform improved stewardship.
  • Bermuda’s ocean stewardship: The research and local public engagement has been credited with energising public and political support for improved management initiative.
  • UNESCO Global Launch: Managed and delivered the global launch of UNESCO’s ‘World Heritage in the High Seas’ from the Nekton Mission in Bermuda.
  • New Global Ocean Conference: Nekton helped inspire and is now supporting a new global ocean-related conference (‘Ocean Risk’) which was held in Bermuda in May 2018.
  • Regional and global policy: a series of actionable datasets from the Mission will be available to inform policy development with the IUCN, High Seas Alliance, Deep Sea Conservation Coalition, United Nations (High Seas & Climate Change).