Nekton Protocol

The first standardised protocol for multidisciplinary marine research:

  • Authored by 15 leading international marine scientists
  • Enables comparative analysis of ocean data
  • Accelerates productivity of field research and analysis
  • Delivers actionable data to catalyse ocean governance
  • Peer-reviewed with best-practice technical guidelines

Launch: Our Ocean Conference, Malta, October 2017

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The need & opportunity

In order to address major societal challenges linked to the ocean, marine research and management programmes need to take a multidisciplinary approach that delivers comparable and actionable data at scale and at speed.

Undertaking field research is expensive, and logistically and operationally challenging, especially when multiple parameters are required. Currently, there is no standardised multidisciplinary approach for marine biological research. This means that comparative analysis of ocean data can be difficult, time-consuming, expensive and at times impossible. While some approaches are more standardised, notably in ocean chemistry and geophysics, deep-sea biology and ecology has lagged behind.

The Nekton Protocol

The Protocol was field tested during Nekton’s Mission I, the XL Catlin Deep Ocean Survey in Bermuda and the North-west Atlantic with scientists participating from twelve research institutes.

In March 2017, fifteen leading marine scientists representing all major disciplines finalised the Protocol at a workshop, held at Somerville College, University of Oxford. They have co-authored the Protocol and technical best practice guidelines for publication and launch in October 2017.

From mesophotic coral reefs to seeps and seamounts, specific and unique complex habitats are addressed in turn with additional guidelines. The Protocol has been created to evolve and be updated as new sampling and analysis technologies become available.