News

The Hunt for Satho Rahaa

A deep sea mountain off the coast of the Maldives has become the focus of a study by Maldivian and international scientists aboard the Nekton science mission.

Although the peak was marked on navigational charts in the mid-20th century and some mapping attempted since, speculation has raged over its exact depth and size.

The Nekton team from the UK is on a joint expedition with the Maldives Marine Research Institute to map and sample the waters off the lowest lying nation on earth. Painting a fuller picture of the deep sea mountain is one of their top mission goals.


Watch the video on our newsroom

Journey to the Deep

Nekton marine biologist Sheena Talma takes viewers on a fascinating journey to the deep, inside the Omega Seamaster II submersible, during Nekton’s Maldives Mission.

The 35-day expedition is a partnership with the Maldives Marine Research Institute. Scientists from the UK, Seychelles, South Africa and the host nation are gathering data and taking samples at various depths to assess the state of ocean health . The Maldives is the lowest-lying nation on earth and is on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Watch the video on our newsroom

Meet the Maldives Volleyball Star Who Switched Career to Swim With Sharks

Ever wondered what it’s like to swim with giant tiger sharks? Meet Hamna Hussain, Maldives national volleyball player turned shark guide, who spends every day with the apex predators off her home island of Fuvahmulah. It’s there scientists from the international Nekton Mission will conduct research to understand more about the behaviour of these giant creatures. If they find the shark population is healthy it bodes well for the health of the ocean.


Watch the video on our newsroom

Shark Island

Anticipation is building on the far-flung island of Fuvahmulah in the Maldives where the imminent arrival in its waters of the international Nekton science mission could unlock the mystery of why it has become home to one of the worlds largest, and seemingly healthiest, tiger shark populations.

The sharks – which can grow to several metres in length – are now a growing tourist attraction for diving enthusiasts, even if less popular with local fishermen who compete for the tuna the giant predators eat.

Scientists on Nekton Mission, who hail from the Maldives, Sri Lanka, India, South Africa and the UK, will use submersibles and other cutting-edge technology to map, film and sample the waters off the coast of Fuvamulah down to 1000 metres. They aim to provide answers to a range of unanswered questions about the shark habitat. If these apex predators are in good health it could bode well for the health of the rest of the marine environment.

Dive master, Hamna Hussain – a former national volleyball player,turned shark guide – has lots of questions for Nekton.

Watch the video on our newsroom

Message in a Bottle

Watch this occasional Nekton series - filmed inside the Omega Seamaster II submersible on our latest Maldives Mission. You’ll hear from prominent ocean advocates, marine biologists and data scientists who all have their own “Message in a Bubble”. In the bubble today - Sri Lankan marine biologist Dr Asha de Vos whose message is a wake up call.

Watch the video here

Maldives Issues ''Climate Refugee'' Warning

A senior Maldives government minister has warned that unless action is taken now his people will become climate refugees, forced to leave their homeland because of the effects of global warming.

Fisheries Minister Dr Hussain Rasheed Hassan was speaking as scientists from the visiting Nekton Mission and their Maldivian counterparts undertake a 35-day expedition to map and sample the waters off the low-lying Indian Ocean nation.

From the air the Maldives is a picture postcard paradise. Pilot whales cutting a graceful dash through sparkling waters.But vital reef systems have been badly impacted by global warming, fracturing natural sea defences.


Watch the video here

A Rallying Cry to ''Act Now - Protect Our Oceans'' Rings Out as Nekton Science Team Explores Maldives Waters

A rallying cry to “Act Now - Protect our Ocean” is echoing across the Maldives, where scientists aboard the international Nekton Mission are hard at work investigating the marine health of a nation on the frontline of climate change. The Maldives did not cause global warming, yet it is wrestling storm surges, dying coral reefs and mountains of discarded plastic.

Watch the video here

MALDIVES PRESIDENT SURPRISE NEKTON VISIT

The President of the Maldives has paid a surprise visit to the international Nekton Mission to offer support to ocean scientists in their quest to find answers that can help unlock the secrets of the deep.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih knows no maps exist of Maldivian waters beneath 30 metres - but that is changing by the hour. Four Maldivian aquanauts, who met President Solih on board, have journeyed to 500 metres below the surface in the past two days. The president saw data they collected - which Nekton marine biologists and mapping experts are now analysing. President Solih was accompanied by government ministers who explained how critical Nekton’s work is for the nation’s understanding of what lives in the deep ocean.

Watch the video here

Maldives Aquanauts Historic Maiden Dive

Two intrepid Maldives aquanauts have journeyed into the history books by becoming the first people from the world’s lowest-lying nation to descend deep into the twilight zone.

Marine biologist, Shafiya Naeem, director general of the Maldives Marine Research Institute, and research assistant colleague Farah Amjad were chosen as lead aquanauts on the maiden dive of the Nekton Maldives Mission.

The expedition is a joint initiative by UK-based Nekton and the Maldives government to map, sample and gather data on ocean health which can inform policy makers both in the Maldives and beyond as the climate crisis deepens. Virtually no images exist of marine life in Maldivian waters below 30 metres.

The aquanauts launched from the mission mothership RV Odyssey off Laamu Atoll and, in an impromptu gesture of national pride, raised the flag of the Maldives as the Omega Seamaster II three-person submersible rolled out on deck

They were piloted by American Kimly Do on a journey to investigate the wall of coral and marine life along the east coast of Lammu at varying depths from 60 metres , through a 120 metre deep survey to the darker depths of 250 metres. The scientists are especially interested in the interconnectivity between corals and marine species living near the surface and at greater depth.

The Maldives team admit to feeling the weight of expectation on their shoulders. Their nation is the lowest lying country on earth and is already experiencing storm surges and so-called coral bleaching events - when corals which act as natural sea defences are literally boiled to death by rising sea temperatures, sparked by global warming. Unless global carbon emissions are kept in check, swathes of this archipelago could become uninhabitable.


Watch the video here

Maldivian Aquanauts arrive on mothership ahead of historic dive

Two Maldives scientists will journey into the history books when they become the first citizens from the world’s lowest-lying nation to descend deep into the Indian Ocean.

Marine biologist, Shafiya Naeem, the director general of the Maldives Marine Research Institute and her research assistant colleague Farah Amjad have been chosen as lead aquanauts on the maiden dive of the Nekton Maldives Mission.

The expedition is a joint initiative by UK-based Nekton and the Maldives government to map, sample and gather data on ocean health which can inform policy makers both in the Maldives and beyond as the climate crisis deepens

The aquanauts arrived aboard the mission mothership RV Odyssey off Vaavu Atoll to undergo safety briefings and complete final preparations ahead of boarding the Omega Seamaster II three-person submersible for the first dive of the mission.

Watch the video here

Maldives Mayor's impassioned plea to world

The mayor of one of the Maldives most far-flung islands has issued an impassioned plea to the world to behave as responsible citizens and stop using single use plastic.Ismail Rafeeq leads the people of Fuvahmulah – permanent population 11,000 - where the community mounts regular beach campaigns to remove tons of plastic discarded by locals and washed up on shore from other countries.

Ismail Rafeeq, Fuvahmulah Mayor “Wherever in the world you live please ,you know, stop putting (discarding) plastics , stop throwing away waste and be a responsible citizen, develop a green lifestyle ,you know , consider the environment. If we treat the environment badly it will come back to haunt us.”

The mayor fears plastic on the beaches means microplastics are present in the sea and in the fish his people eat.

He wants Nekton scientists sampling the country‘s waters on a 35 - day mission to supply data that can change public behaviours and make them think twice before dumping plastic.

Find out more and watch video here

Climate Change above agreed threshold is "death sentence" for small island states

The Maldives Environment Minister has issued a stark warning that climate change is a “death sentence” for the Indian Island nation and other small island states if global warming rises beyond the 1.5 degrees Celsius threshold set by the international community in 2015.

Shauna Aminath was speaking as a multinational science team from the UK-based Nekton Mission and their Maldivian counterparts embark on a 35-day expedition to assess the health of the seas surrounding what is the world’s lowest-lying country.

“The difference between 1.5 and two degrees for Maldives and for many small island states is a death sentence. So there's nothing more important for us as as a civilisation to address. Climate change is our biggest, single most challenging issue of our generation. And we are also the last generation to be able to make a difference”

Find out more

Nekton Maldives Mission gets underway

Scientists from the UK-based Nekton Mission - who will be joined by 10 aquanauts from the Maldives - are about to go where no human has gone before.

Over the next five weeks they'll be living aboard the RV Odyssey and diving deep into the Indian Ocean, in three-person submersibles, to map and sample the waters off the Maldives - the world's lowest-lying nation.

The data they gather on ocean health from the surface down to 1000 metres will be captured using a range of cutting edge technologies and will provide vital information to Maldives policy makers, whose country is on the frontline of the climate crisis.

Maldivian Aquanauts announced

The names of ten Maldivian marine scientists leading first descents in high-tech submersibles to explore Maldives’ unknown deep ocean have been announced:

  • Shafiya Naeem, Director General, Maldives Marine Research Institute (MMRI)
  • Mohamed Ahusan, Senior Research Officer, MMRI
  • Fathimath Hana Amir, Marine Biologist, MMRI
  • Dr. Ahmed Riyaz Jauharee, Senior Scientific Officer, MMRI
  • Mohamed Shimal, Marine Biologist, MMRI
  • Hussain Moosa, Assistant Marine Research Officer, MMRI
  • Hussein Zahir, President, Small Island Research Group (SIRG)
  • Aminath Shaha Hashim, Maldives Programme Manager, Blue Marine Foundation & Chairperson of NGO, Maldives Resilient Reefs.
  • Aleef Abdulla Naseem, Marine Biologist, Water Solutions Pvt. Ltd
  • Further Aquanaut tbd

Find out more in the latest Press Release

Underwater expedition aims to unravel mysteries of the Maldives

Read the article here

Nekton Launch Maldives Mission

The Nekton Maldives Mission has been launched with Maldivian Aquanauts to be announced in Male on 1st September and expedition beginning on 4th September. All details available for media via Mission’s newsroom

AP newsroom Link

Dr Lucy Woodall gave a hard hitting message on the Seabed 2030 panel discussion at the UN Ocean conference

The event looked at the benefits of ocean mapping from a global perspective, and explored how mapping data is essential to supporting the UN SDG 14 and Decade outcomes, as well as safeguarding our future and that of the planet.

Dr Lucy Woodall cautioned that the 2030 project would fail unless it engaged all communities with an interest in the data

Read the BBC article here

Oliver Steeds OBE on the panel discussion at the Great Blue Wall event at the UN Ocean Conference.

The Great Blue Wall (GBW) is a Western Indian Ocean (WIO)-led, African driven roadmap to achieve a nature positive world by 2030. It aims at unlocking unprecedented nature-based recovery efforts through the establishment of a transformational movement.

Speakers included Former President of Seychelles Danny Faure, Oliver Steeds OBE, Dr Diva Amon, Alexis Grosskopf and Barkha Mossae

The Explorers Club World Oceans Week

On 6th June Nekton's Science and Knowledge Exchange Programme Manager Sheena Talma took part, alongside some phenomenal speakers, in the Explorers Club Big Ideas event where participants were asked to shoot for the moon with creative ocean solutions for their World Ocean's Week.

Catch up on the event here:

Photo: David Shaw

Oliver Steeds awarded the OBE on the Queen's Birthday Honours List

We are all hugely proud that our Chief Executive Oliver Steeds has been awarded the OBE on the Queen's Birthday Honours List for services to Research and Conservation of the Marine Environment. This honour is in recognition of Nekton’s achievements and especially our wonderful partners who have enabled our work over the past 6 years and contributed to what we achieved together for the ocean. Huge congratulations to all who have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours.

Race for the Planet

An exciting new series following Extreme E and the climate change story that underpins it, is set for release early summer 2022 on Prime Video in the UK and in Ireland featuring Nekton scientists Dr. Lucy Woodall - the Ocean Expert in Extreme E's science committee, and Sheena Talma - Extreme E's environmental advisor.
Stay tuned!

The Ocean Race Summit Seychelles

World leaders, ministers, sailors, scientists and ocean advocates gathered in the Seychelles on 21st March to call for greater global action and collaboration to protect the ocean.

Mr. Wavel Ramkalawan, President of the Republic of the Seychelles, spoke about his concern for the ocean, its vital role in sustaining all life on Earth and the need to unite in taking urgent action to protect it: “The survival of this planet depends on each one of us pulling together exactly as the participants in The Ocean Race do. It is teamwork that will ensure the survival of our planet."

Nekton CEO Oliver Steeds joined the summit for a talk on Ocean Rights, Relationships, Values & Protection, and our Nekton Science and Knowledge Exchange Programme Manager, Sheena Talma, joined the summit for closing comments and reflections on the summit.

Catch up on the entire summit here


World Ocean Summit Virtual Week

The World Ocean Summit and Expo brought together the broadest cross-section of the ocean community, from businesses to scientists, government, investors, and civil society. Nekton CEO Oliver Steeds, joined the World Ocean Summit virtual week for the plenary panel on Ocean Literacy; the understanding of our individual and collective impact on the ocean, and its impact on our lives and wellbeing.

Watch the session here

2022 News

2021 was another remarkable year on our journey to help explore and protect the ocean and we are delighted to share that 2022 is shaping up to be our most impactful year yet.

Find out more and read the newsletter here

Western Indian Ocean nations commit to co-developing a new ocean policy and strategy to achieve regional goals.

At the Nairobi Convention COP10, the ten governments of the Western Indian Ocean nations unanimously agreed to co-create an ambitious new regional ocean strategy and accompanying policies to support sustainable ocean development underpinned by science-based management.

The goal of this programme – ‘The Western Indian Ocean – Resilience & Prosperity Initiative’ (WIO-RPI) – is to define the policy and design the first five-year strategic plan to be presented for ratification at the Nairobi Convention’s COP11 in 2023.

The WIO-RPI will be an essential part of our region’s strategic and policy framework to ensure we maintain a prosperous and resilient Western Indian Ocean that is essential to our collective sustainable economic growth, to enhance our food security and to strengthen our resilience to climate change consequences,” said Seychelles’ Minister for Agriculture, Climate Change and Energy, Flavien Joubert.

Nekton is proud to be the Technical Partner for the Western Indian Ocean - Resilience and Prosperity Initiative (WIO RPI).

Read more here


Ocean Rising Fireside Chat

Dr. Jyotika Virmani - Executive Director of Schmidt Ocean Institute - and Oliver Steeds - Chief Executive of Nekton Foundation, discuss the insights generated by the "Ocean Rising" workshop, held in July 2021 to explore how the public can be inspired regarding ocean issues. Themes include the arts, broadcast media, social media, sports/gaming, business and industry - as each of these sectors play a critical role in defining our diverse cultures and shaping human behavior.

Nekton publishes the first Benthic Reef Field Guide of the Seychelles

Published in the peer-reviewed, open-access Biodiversity Data Journal, the field identification guide aims to showcase the benthic organisms that inhabit the Seychelles’ deeper reefscapes.

"Currently, there are few formalised training materials available to new marine researchers working in mesophotic and deeper reef habitats, especially for the Indian Ocean. The present benthic field ID guide will hopefully be of use to marine researchers, managers, divers and naturalists with the identification of organisms as seen in marine imagery or live in the field." Paris Stefanoudis – University of Oxford & Nekton

Nekton and Schmidt Ocean Institute kick off exciting new partnership to inspire the public

The two not-for-profit organizations released a white paper, Ocean Rising: The Quest to Inspire the Public that outlines industry actions that have brought awareness to ocean science and sustainability. The paper looks at different sectors and areas of collaboration, highlighting new opportunities to engage the arts, broadcast media, social media, sports, gaming, fashion, food and others.

A virtual workshop was held on July 7th as part of the UN Decade of Ocean Sciences for Sustainable Development Labs, in tandem with the white paper release, to discuss how each sector plays a critical role in defining culture and shaping human behavior.

“Our goal is to inspire people about the ocean. This is our planet, but an unknown one, full of wonder and mystery, with incredible landscapes and alien creatures,” said Dr. Jyotika Virmani, executive director of Schmidt Ocean Institute. “This is the United Nations Ocean Decade and elevating the understanding and appreciation for our ocean is a high priority. Through this collaboration, our goal is to bring the ocean to everyone.

“We protect what we love, and we need to find new ways for people to fall in love with the ocean,” said Nekton Chief Executive Oliver Steeds. “To connect the ocean to people, we need to connect our cultures to the ocean. That’s the first key challenge we are looking to address together.”

Both Nekton and Schmidt Ocean Institute plan to collaborate on public outreach and address other marine research and ocean data challenges together during the Ocean Decade, which started in January 2021.

Nekton and Schmidt Ocean Institute - Ocean Rising: The Quest to Inspire the Public published today

Read the Paper here

The ocean is a magnificent resource that quietly gives to all, but is rarely recognized for the role it plays in planetary and human health. In order to change this status quo, we need to inspire the public about the ocean as they are inspired by space. How do we get the populace to consider the ocean and its impact on our livelihoods, and inspire the public in substantive and meaningful ways? We argue that the key to transformation is targeting established industries outside of the community by providing successful examples, identifying what is missing, and making suggestions for a way forward.

This paper will take prior recommendations on how to inspire the public and put them into an actionable framework, engaging five different industries: the arts; broadcast media; social media; sports and gaming; and business and industry. Each sector plays a critical role in defining our diverse cultures and shaping human behavior. We encourage readers to explore each section individually or read in its entirety, and to share widely with those who have not yet engaged with the ocean. Our hope is that we can familiarize the public with the ocean – not just making them aware of its plight but engaging them with innovative and inspiring solutions.

Launch of Catch Our Drift, Nekton's brand new podcast for people who love the sea


Catch Our Drift is a new fortnightly podcast for people who love the sea brought to you by Nekton working in partnership with OneOcean Flotilla. Co-hosted by marine biologist Dr Helen Scales and submersible pilot and Nekton Mission Director Oliver Steeds, it uses storytelling to promote ocean conservation. It’s entertaining and inspiring and appealing to a wide range of listeners with all that is exciting, uplifting, dramatic and concerning in the ocean. It provides news and views to engage and inform an audience of ocean experts and novices during 2021, the Ocean Super Year.

Confirmed Contributors: Actor Robert Sheehan (The Umbrella Academy and Misfits), F1 racing champion, Nico Rosberg, explorer and presenter Steve Backshall, astronaut and aquanaut Kathy Sullivan (who is also part of Biden’s transition team), World freediving champion Alenka Artnik, shark expert David Schiffman, technical diver and subject of Netflix documentary “The Last Breath” Chris Lemon, NYT journalist and author of “The Outlaw Ocean” Ian Urbina … and more….

Former President of Seychelles Danny Faure and UN Ambassador Peter Thomson join Nekton briefing

The briefing, hosted by Nekton's Oliver Steeds, discussed the Blue Economy and the critical role that business and financial institutions can play in 2021.

Billed as the Ocean Super Year, events including G7, COP26, The UN Ocean Summit, the Convention on Biological Diversity and others will see decisions made that will inform and define the future of our ocean and our planet for years to come.

Sign up to discover the main findings from First Descent at the Seychelles Ocean Science Symposium

Register here to take part in this virtual symposium from 9th - 12th November. Registration is free.

You can access the Symposium schedule here.

Nekton invited to become a Nominator for The Earthshot Prize as the search for the first winners begins

Nekton is proud to have been invited to become a Nominator for the Prize – one of over 100 organisations from across the world invited to submit nominations, selected for our ability to identify the most impactful solutions across all sectors, from grassroots to businesses.

Together, the five Earthshots, – ‘Protect and restore nature’, ‘Clean our air’, ‘Revive our oceans’, ‘Build a waste-free world’ and ‘Fix our climate’, aim to generate new ways of thinking, as well as new technologies, systems, policies and solutions.

We will be nominating individuals, communities, businesses and organisations whose solutions make the most progress towards achieving the five Earthshots – simple but ambitious goals which if achieved by 2030 will improve life for us all, for generations to come.

Beginning today, the 5-stage prize process to select a winner for each Earthshot is as follows:

  1. Nominations: Our nominators will seek out solutions from across the globe that will help us reach our Earthshots
  2. Screening: Nominations will be screened as part of an independent assessment process run by Deloitte, our implementation partner.
  3. Shortlist: A distinguished panel of experts will support the judging process, making recommendations to The Earthshot Prize Council.
  4. Selection: Prince William and The Earthshot Prize Council select our five winners.
  5. Awards: The winners of The Earthshot Prize will be announced at an awards ceremony, which will take place in different cities across the world each year between

    2021 and 2030.

Prizes could be awarded to a wide range of individuals, teams or collaborations – scientists, activists, economists, community projects, leaders, governments, banks, businesses, cities, and countries – anyone whose workable solutions make a substantial contribution to achieving the Earthshots.

After the awards, each winner will receive a global platform and prestigious profile, with their stories being showcased over the decade and the ambition that their solutions lead to mass adoption, replication and scaling. The £1 million in prize money will support environmental and conservation projects that are agreed with the winners. Shortlisted nominees will also be given tailored support and opportunities to help scale their work, including being connected with an ecosystem of likeminded individuals and organisations.

To find out more about The Earthshot Prize, visit www.earthshotprize.org.

Omega Seamaster Diver 300m Nekton Release

We are delighted to share the release of the OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M Nekton Edition: a dive watch on a mission to save the seas.

Omega has a long ocean heritage, and the famous Seamaster has played a key role in OMEGA’s ocean story. A legacy acknowledged when we dubbed our research submersible Seamaster 2 in tribute to the boat skippered by the late Sir. Peter Blake. The legendary round-the-world yachtsman was a passionate advocate of ocean conservation and a close friend of OMEGA.

This fantastic timepiece is a tribute to Nekton and Omega's strong partnership, and a great way to show how innovation and ocean spirit can work together, which is exactly what we’re doing here at Nekton.

Find out more here

Nekton wins Ocean Award for Public Awareness at 2020 Ocean Awards

The Ocean Awards honour and celebrate people and organisations who work tirelessly to help address the crisis in our oceans. The Public Awareness Award recognises those who have advanced marine conservation objectives throughout the year. It is such an honour to have received this prestigious award and we are delighted to have been recognised in this category.

A huge thanks to all of our partners who made this possible.

Seychelles Designates 30% of its EEZ as Marine Protected Area

Approximately a third of Seychelles’ ocean territory, an area larger than Germany, will now be declared as protected under the National Parks and Nature Conservancy Act, totalling an area of 410,000 square kilometres. This is a result of the Seychelles Marine Spatial Plan, an output of the award-winning debt-for-nature swap co-designed by the Government of Seychelles and The Nature Conservancy.

NEKTON FIRST DESCENT MIDNIGHT ZONE HAS BEEN POSTPONED

Although there are no cases of coronavirus-Covid 19 aboard the Expedition’s research vessel the DSSV Pressure Drop, the decision was made to cancel the expedition.

Nekton, the Governments of Seychelles and the Maldives remain committed to undertaking this important research and the Expedition will be rescheduled when the situation allows.

“Due to the unprecedented global situation and overwhelming concerns about the COVID-19 virus, we have made the decision to cancel the Expedition. We are very disappointed, but we know it is the right thing to do. We remain fully committed to our work in the Indian Ocean and look forward to resuming our research as soon as the time is right.”, said Oliver Steeds, Nekton’s Mission Director.


Nekton First Descent Midnight Zone and Covid-19

We are taking the risk of coronavirus (COVID-19) extremely seriously and are closely monitoring global and local developments. We are following the guidelines of the World Health Organisation, the Government of Maldives, Seychelles and the UK. We review the situation on a daily, often hourly, basis.

We are aware this is an ongoing, changing situation and we are continuing to work at the invitation and directives of the Governments of Seychelles and the Maldives.

We recognise that as the situation changes, either in the coming days leading up to the Expedition or during, then we will respond to the directives of Seychelles, the Maldives, WHO and/or the situation aboard as required.

We have reviewed the currents risks and remain committed to the mission and are currently proceeding under the invitation and direction of the Governments of Maldives and Seychelles.

We have implemented a strict policy relating to Covid-19 for participants - they will all be screened before they board and we have established procedures for mitigating and managing symptoms and outbreak aboard. We are following the guidelines of the World Health Organisation, including related to vessels, along with recommendations from the US Academic Fleet. We have been in touch with all key partners in Seychelles and the Maldives to develop and implement procedures around the Mission and the vessel's Emergency Response Plans. We have a number of medics aboard, a dedicated hospital, additional medical supplies, 24/7 remote medical support and a range of other systems and procedures in place.

12th March 2020


First Descent Midnight Zone launch celebrated with The Commonwealth

There was a packed crowd at the stunning Marlborough House, the home of the Commonwealth Secretariat on March 4th to hear about the Nekton's Midnight Zone expedition. In front of a panel of esteemed guests including Baroness Scotland, the High Commissioner of the Maldives, Her Excellency Farah Faizal and High Commissioner of Seychelles, His Excellency Derick Ally, plans for the next expedition were presented. Nekton Mission Director Oliver Steeds, Principal Scientist Dr Lucy Woodall, and Seychellois Scientist Sheena Talma explained the science and importance of studying seamounts and talked about our knowledge exchange programme. It was an uplifting gathering of people committed to ocean protection.

Would you like to join us on a deep dive on our expedition?

The two-day online auction begins at midnight on February 26th, 2020, for adventurers from across the globe to bid on the world’s most exclusive travel experience.

The highest bidder will travel to the Maldives and board Nekton’s manned submersible alongside Victor Vescovo, diving down to 3,000 meters below sea level where biodiversity peaks to visit an unexplored seamount in the Indian Ocean’s Midnight Zone.

The experience also includes stays at some of the world’s most exclusive luxury resorts, the opportunity to conduct a live deep-sea broadcast, and the chance to help create the first maps of uncharted seamounts. The highest bidder will also receive a documentary film detailing the entire journey.

All net proceeds will be re-invested into Nekton to support their ongoing conservation efforts. Nekton undertakes these missions to galvanize the protection and management of our oceans, aiming to support the protection of at least 30% of the ocean by 2030.

www.kensingtontours/nekton

Exploration Beneath the Waves

On the 19th February, our partners Project Zero hosted the Exploration Beneath the Waves ambassadors evening. Held at the Amazonico London, in a room resembling the inside of a submarine with portholes looking out into the ocean, Oliver's talk took everyone on a journey into the deep ocean and what we can find as we descend. The night also celebrated the unveiling of Harland Miller's 'Save the Penguin' artwork.

Seychelles and Maldives announce expedition to explore Indian Ocean.

First Descent: Midnight Zone is a 35 day mission to support the sustainable governance of the Seychelles and Maldivian ocean including the protection of 629,000km2. A team of 50 international scientists, technicians, media and crew will be carrying out research to gather critical data to define conservation and management priorities and the designation of Marine Protected Areas. The expedition starts in Seychelles on March 16th 2020.

Research is focussed on seamounts in the Midnight Zone. The Midnight Zone describes ocean dpths between 1000ms and 4000ms. While biomass peaks in surface waters, biodiversity peaks within the Midnight Zone. The expedition will undertake the first research of seamounts in this area under the Indian Ocean. With high levels of biological endemism, seamounts are often described as "undersea Galapagoses", home to species found nowhere else on the planet.

To support a healthy, resilient and prosperous ocean, scientists are calling for 30% of the ocean to be protected. Currently only 2% is strongly protected and 8% is designated for protection.

First Descent: Midnight Zone is one of a series of expeditions that Nekton are carrying out across the Indian Ocean documenting changes beneath the waves in a bid to catalyse 30% protection by 2030.

See the Press Release and Newsroom for more details

Oxford 05/03/2020

Nekton Lecture At The RGS

On 21st October we gave a talk at the prestigious Royal Geographical Society in London on First Descent Seychelles.

Speakers at the event included Dr. Lucy Woodall - Principal scientist of Nekton, Sheena Talma - Seychellois Marine Biologist and Oliver Steeds - Mission director and CEO of Nekton. Initial scientific observations regarding seabed surveys and the interconnectivity between shallow-water reefs and deeper habitats were outlined and discussed by Dr Lucy Woodall. Sheena Talma gave a thoughtful and emotive talk regarding her experience on the Nekton research ship and her experience of collecting samples in a submersible. Oliver Steeds gave a full rundown of the pioneering technology and equipment gathered together by the small research charity through partners to make the expedition possible, and the technical challenges that at times resembled controlling the Bolshoi ballet on strings which was required to stream live to the world from under the ocean

An audience of 650 packed the lecture hall to hear the lecture alongside President Danny Faure of Seychelles who was also a surprise guest speaker. The president has worked closely with Nekton during the past year and visited the research ship during the expedition to giving the first live subsea presidential address regarding climate change from a submersible. After visiting Nekton HQ in Oxford the previous Friday to see the scientist’s progress on the samples and seabed surveys he was incredibly excited by the progress of the team. Other notable attendees include Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, Commonwealth secretary-general and H.E. Mr. Derick Ally, Ambassador of the Republic of Seychelles.

21/10/19

President Danny Faure of Seychelles visit to Nekton HQ

We were delighted to welcome President Danny Faure in our lab and office in Oxford on Friday 18th October. He met the whole Nekton team and was told about our ongoing research from our expedition to Seychelles. He examined some of the samples and was shown the first 3D maps of the seabeds of the islands. He also met with Seychellois scientist Sheen Talma who is currently carrying out research in Nekton's labs.

New scientists in the Nekton Lab

Nico Fassbender has joined Nekton today working as Research Assistant. Before moving to Oxford Nico worked as a science officer for the conservation charity Global Vision International in Seychelles. Originally from Monchengladbach in Germany, Nico studied Marine Biology and Zoology at Bangor University in Wales. In spring 2019 he was a member of Nekton’s science team on our expedition in Seychelles and is delighted to have joined us in Oxford.

Sara Winter is working as an intern in our Oxford lab. She recently finished her masters in marine biology at James Cook University after studying at Zurich University. She will be with Nekton for three months and is currently busy analysing the video data from Seychelles.

14/10/19

Teledyne marine technology workshop, San Diego

Mission Director Oliver Steeds gave the keynote speech at our technology partner, Teledyne Marine's Technology event in San Diego on 7th October 2019. Our Seychelles expedition would not have been possible without the "sea of solutions" provided by Teledyne that enabled us to carry out our vital science research. Their technological solutions were key to our science, safety and operations.

07/10/19

Award Winners!

Technology & Broadcast: We are so proud and delighted that Associated Press has been awarded the prestigious IBC Innovation Award for their undersea reporting during our First Descent Mission in Seychelles. This technical award has innovative storytelling and creativity at its heart and was made possible thanks to the partnership between AP, Nekton, Sonarydyne, Live U and Inmarsat. This partnership helped to tell the story of the ocean in a profound new way and we are hugely grateful to our partners for their faith and commitment to pioneering live submersible broadcasting.

17/09/19

Seychelles Mission - Building a legacy

A key part of our mission and partnership with the Government of Seychelles is to develop the skills, knowledge and networks within marine science and ocean management. The Nekton team are leading a training workshop in Seychelles from 23th to 27th of September that will include video transects, data analysis, ocean literacy and media skills, scientific writing, publication and sample curation.

17/09/19

Nekton on the world stage

From the Global Exploration Summit in Lisbon to WEF Africa in Cape Town and from the NYC Explorers Clubto the FT Weekend Festival, the Do Lectures, the Commonwealth ICT & Innovation Summit and London’s Science Museum it has been a busy few months for Mission Director Oliver Steeds and Principal Scientist Lucy Woodall as they have travelled the world to share word about the discoveries and successes of the Seychelles Mission and the need to protect at least 30% of our ocean by 2030. Keep an eye for upcoming talks and events including a prestigious lecture at the Royal Geographical Society on 21stOctoberand with our partners Teledyne Marine in San Diego, London Shipping Week with Inmarsat and the Marine Measurement Forum with Sonardyne.

12/09/19

Seychelles mission - Accelerating data analysis

To accelerate analysis and publication, we've gathered experts together for a 2-week long taxonomic workshop in Grahamstown at the South African Institute of Aquatic Biodiversity to identify organisms that were collected during our field operations. The second week was devoted to training the next generation of early career researchers to taxonomy. The workshop in numbers:

  • 23 people (13 experts + 10 trainees) participated either physically present or remotely
  • 9 lectures were given (including five remotely via skype)
  • 4 hands-on practical sessions IDying soft corals, sponges, brittle stars and hydrozoans
  • 16 institutes involved so far with 4 more that are going to be involved post-workshop

30/08/19

Oxford fellowships for Seychellois scientists

We're delighted to have welcomed the recipients of the AfOx-Nekton Marine Science Fellowships at Oxford over the summer. In partnership with Seychelles Conservation and Climate Adaptation Trust (SeyCCAT) and the Africa Oxford Initiative (AfOx), scientists from Seychelles have been in Oxford conducting ongoing research and analysis from the Seychelles Expedition.

12/07/19