The XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey is Nekton’s first multidisciplinary scientific research Mission to investigate the state of the deep ocean around Bermuda, Sargasso Sea and the NW Atlantic.


  • Field Research: 14 July - 15th August 2016
  • Taxonomic Acceleration Workshop (Bermuda): November 2016
  • Data Analysis & Publication: September 2016 - May 2018
  • Nekton Protocol Workshop (Oxford): March 2017
  • Protocol Publication (Our Ocean Conference): October 2017
  • Publication of synopsis scientific paper: May 2018


  1. Scientific Research: Create a new standardised framework for deep ocean research and a baseline of the state of the ocean around Bermuda and the NW Atlantic Ocean.
  2. Capacity Development: Pioneer new research adaptations for submersibles and divers and provide grants and opportunities for leadership and involvement in Mission operations across marine science, conservation and ocean management in Bermuda and the NW Atlantic.
  3. Public Engagement: Promote the research and exploration of the ocean as a gateway for public engagement and increased ocean prioritization.
  4. Education: Create and a launch a new educational programme, Submarine STEM, freely distributed and linked to global curricula to accelerate ocean literacy.
  5. Policy: Engage public and political support for improved ocean management around Bermuda, and create actionable data to accelerate sustainable ocean governance in the region.


Locations: Bermuda, Sargasso Sea, Nova Scotia (NW Atlantic) 


  • Research Vessel: CCGS Hudson

  • Sub deployment ship: Baseline Explorer
  • Technical Diving Boats: M/V Tiarra and Fountain

Submersibles: 2 Triton 1000/2 submersibles, 300m depth capacity, adapted with the latest scientific and filming equipment 

Other Equipment

  • 1 ROV (2000m), multibeam sonar, corer, CTD, plankton nets.
  • Technical dive teams down to 100m

Media: Reporting live from the mission and underwater from the submersibles

Download Cruise Report HERE.


Bermuda Platform

Research was focused on the Bermuda Platform in the North Atlantic. The purpose was to identify changing biological, chemical and physical parameters across a series of ecosystems including the Gulf Stream. The Bermuda Platform, located to the north-west of Bermuda, was formed from the eroded stump of a large volcano around 40 million years ago. It is located at the highest point of the Bermuda Rise which is 1,500km long and between 500km and 1,000km wide.

Gully Marine Protected Area, Nova Scotia

Located 200km southeast of Nova Scotia, the Gully Marine Protected Area is the largest submarine canyon in eastern North America. It is home to a wide variety of organisms, including cold-water coral, diverse fish species and more than 14 different kinds of marine mammals, including the endangered Scotian Shelf population of Northern Bottlenose Whale.

Sargasso Sea

The Sargasso Sea is at risk from the vast accumulations of litter that have built up within gyres. Scientists examined the impact on the local ecosystem and also looked to identify where these accumulations of litter end up. Unlike most other gyres where the litter remains and persists, long-term build up does not appear to occur in the Sargasso Sea.