Nekton's Research Programme: Bathyal Survey

Scientific objective

Our goal is to create a step change in our knowledge and understanding of the state of the ocean and establish the first comprehensive baseline of its marine life and impacts of human activity.

Nekton’s Research Programme: Bathyal Survey

We undertake multidisciplinary, collaborative scientific research to investigate biological, chemical and physical indicators of change to:

  • Create a baseline of the scale and distribution of marine life.
  • Identify new species and extending the inventory of ocean life through genomic and taxonomic discovery.
  • Explore connectivity across depths and geography.
  • Document the impacts of human activity.

All research is conducted using Nekton’s new protocol - the first multidisciplinary standardised framework for marine research.

Nekton focuses predominantly on the following operating depths:

  • Euphotic and Mesophotic (0m – 200m): At shallower depths, plentiful food supplies support the dominance of competitive species and contain the greatest biomass in the ocean because of the proximity to sunlight. The water column beneath scuba diving depth remains largely unexplored, yet it is the most impacted by human activities.
  • Bathyal Zone (200m – 3,000m): This largely uncharted habitat is characterised by hotspots of complex ecosystems including cold-water coral reefs, sponge beds and seamounts along with unique communities of life including deep-sea squids, whales and sharks. Biodiversity peaks between 1,000m and 3,000m as decreasing food supplies reduce the potential for competitive exclusion allowing larger numbers of species to co-exist. Critical for the planet’s carbon cycle, the Bathyal Zone is increasingly subject to fishing pressures and other human impacts.

Through developing standardized approaches and embracing new technologies, Nekton accelerates scientific discovery and produces actionable data that fosters policy change. Combined with our capacity building initiatives, Nekton creates a legacy of ongoing marine research and effective regional and global stewardship.

Networked Research: Collaboration & Partnership with scientific institutes

In order to maximize productivity, develop and share capacity, enhance knowledge transfer and deliver our scientific objectives within an accelerated timeframe, we collaborate with a network of scientists across disciplines and research institutions globally to undertake field research, data analysis, publication, capacity development and policy initiatives. The Nekton Oxford Deep Ocean Institute is the hub of this network, coordinating these partnerships, and where appropriate undertaking sample processing, data analysis and scientific publication and dissemination.