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Low-cost systems, AI-driven data analysis, and capacity development are required to create a new approach to increase exploration efficiency and access to the deep sea. Only now, with recent technological breakthroughs across numerous sectors, is it possible to truly accelerate the pace of exploration by working with people on every coastline to ensure they have the tools and abilities to explore the deep ocean for themselves.

Current Projects

Low cost ocean sensor, Maka Niu

Access to data collection is one of the primary barriers to deep-sea exploration. We are creating low-cost, easy-to-use deep-sea systems that gather the most critical data to inform environmental decision-making and deployment strategies.

Deep Sea Cephlapod

The 2022 Global Deep-Sea Capacity Assessment, conducted by the Ocean Discovery League, is a baseline assessment of the technical and human capacity for deep-sea exploration and research in every coastal area with deep ocean worldwide.

A depiction of a jelly fish made of light blue connected dots against a dark blue background.

Enormous amounts of ocean video have been collected in the last few decades, but little has been viewed or analyzed. We are developing AI-driven tools to dramatically accelerate analysis of existing and newly acquired ocean video and imagery.

A coastal sunset with four boats moored close to shore.

The majority of countries have little or no ability to explore the 93% of the ocean that lies below 200 m. There is a significant capacity gap between high- and low-income countries with respect to access to tools, training, and infrastructure for deep-sea exploration and research.

Partner Projects

An ROV shining a light against a wall in the deep ocean.

Katy Croff Bell participated as an instructor in the inaugural 2022 Deep-Sea Expedition Planning Master Class for the Crustal Ocean Biosphere Research Accelerator (COBRA). The mission of COBRA is to accelerate research on the structure, function, resilience, and ecosystem services of the crustal ocean biosphere to inform decision-making.

The Deep Ocean Observing Strategy (DOOS)

DOOS is "an international, community driven initiative that facilitates collaboration across disciplines and fields, elevates a diverse cohort of early career researchers into future leaders, and connects scientific advancements to societal needs. DOOS represents a global network of deep ocean observing, mapping, and modeling experts, focusing community efforts in the support of strong science, policy and planning for sustainable oceans."

Ocean Discovery League is working with OceanX on the strategy and curriculum for its Young Explorers Program including participating in the most recent expedition aboard OceanXplorer providing hands-on research and mentorship opportunities to 15 university students in the fields of storytelling, marine biology, and ocean exploration.


“To understand the full Earth system, we need to understand the deepest parts of the ocean”

Dr. Dawn Wright

Previous Projects

Five people on a boat looking at a low-cost technology system.

The goal of My Deep Sea, My Backyard was to enable Kiribati and Trinidad & Tobago to explore their own deep-sea backyards using low-cost technology, while building lasting capacity.

Two people on a boat looking at a deep-sea camera system.

In 2019, the MIT Media Lab (MIT), National Geographic Society (NGS), Lindblad Expeditions (LEX) collaborated to create a pilot Deep-Sea Camera System training and deployment program.

An example of machine learning analysis underwater visual data.

The goal of Big Ocean, Big Data was to establish FathomNet, a new baseline dataset optimized to directly accelerate development of modern, intelligent, automated analysis of underwater visual data.

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