The Maldives Mission

“I didn’t create the climate and biodiversity crises… yet, my home – here in the Maldives – is on the frontline. Our country, our islands are built on coral. 2 degree temperature rise and all coral dies. The ocean is rising and it’s coming for us first”.

Aya Naseem, Director, Maldives Coral Institute

The Mission

The Nekton Maldives Mission, 4th September to 7th October, is undertaking the first systematic survey and sampling of the Maldives from the surface to 1000 metre depths. Almost nothing is known about what is below 30 metres, the vast majority of the country.

In partnership with the Government of Maldives, the Mission will help create extensive new marine protected areas and ensure the ocean continues to protect and provide for the Maldivian people.


Field Operations: 4th September to 7th October

Taxonomic Workshop: January 2023

First Results: Early 2023

The Maldives

Size: 923,322 km2 (including ocean) – over two and half times larger than Germany (357,021 km2)

Population: 560,000 (2022)

Capital: Malé (with about 200,000 inhabitants)

Geography: The Maldives are located on the central part of a submerged ocean mountain range called the Laccadive-Chagos Ridge stretching from the north to central Indian Ocean. The Maldives is the flattest country in the world with no rivers and no hills. Its highest point (on Villingili Island) is only 2.4metres above sea level, but the average ground level is just around one and half metres.

The Atolls: The Maldives is a chain of 26 coral atolls including the largest atoll in the world. The Atolls are the summits of the remains of a chain of sunken volcanoes formed around 60 million years ago. Of the 1,190 islands in the Maldives, only 200 are inhabited. Only about 30 islands are home to more than 1,000 people.