Co-producing deep sea science for a more equitable and inclusive future

Publicado: 24 Mayo 2022
Última edición: 24 Mayo 2022
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The deep sea is present in the waters of 70% of countries, but only 17% of these have the resources, equipment, and expertise to be able to observe, research and sample these depths.

To bridge the gap and promote a more inclusive, equitable approach to deep-sea research, an array of activities needs to be undertaken. This includes long term training, deep-sea literacy activities, better accessibility to networks and resources, and co-producing research with host nation countries.

By co-producing deep-sea science, we can start to address the exclusive nature of surveying the deep sea and further ensure that the research conducted is wanted, useful and supportive of national objectives. A small step towards levelling the playing field and creating long-term mutually beneficial outcomes.

Nekton aspires to conduct deep-sea science worldwide using the values of co-production, we aim to learn, grow and improve our collaborative approaches with each of our interactions and share our learnings with others.


África Oriente y África del Sur
Scale of implementation
Arrecifes coralinos
Ecosistemas marinos y costeros
Mar abierto
Ciencia y investigación
Comunicación y divulgación
Gobernanza de las áreas protegidas y conservadas
Manejo espacial de la zona marino-costera
Servicios ecosistémicos
World Heritage
Calor extremo
Pérdida de la biodiversidad
Acidificación de los océanos
Pérdida de ecosistemas
Contaminación (incluida la eutrofización y la basura)
Falta de capacidad técnica
Sustainable development goals
ODS 14 - Vida submarina
ODS 17 - Alianzas para lograr los objetivos




  • Knowledge gaps of the deep sea exist globally, but this is much more prominent in the Southern Hemisphere, and in the territorial waters of low- and middle-income nations.
  • The sparse knowledge accruement is due to the resource disparities that exist within the deep-sea field.
  • The knowledge gaps mean that decision makers either do not regularly consider the deep sea or assumptions that are used to inform policies are made from data that are not comprehensive or even representative of the deep sea in their waters.
  • Without localised data, equitably sourced to meet national needs, it is not possible to provide a baseline of deep-sea health, to apply appropriate management plans to protected areas, or monitor the state of the ocean.


  • Government of Seychelles
  • Seychelles Coastal and Climate Adaptation Trust Grantees
  • Regional and global taxonomists
  • Host-nation country viewers
  • Nekton Foundation

¿ Cómo interactúan los building blocks en la solución?

Our experience suggests that conducting research using a co-production philosophy amplifies the benefits of research. By first building trust and a relationship with the host-nation country, we set the foundation for a fruitful and long-term relationship that delivers long-term value. Frequent, open and trusted communications limits occasions of misunderstandings and ensures that conflict resolution can occur in a timely manner. These key-stone actions, ensure that mutually-beneficial agreements can be drafted with all partners. Our approach was by no means new or perfect but we hope it does provide an example of how multiple activities can be co-defined and co-delivered in an integrated and impactful way. We believe that being open, authentic, and intentional in how we conduct field research, especially in the deep-sea, should be the norm and not the exception.


  • Outputs that are implementable to address and fulfill co-defined national needs such as: creation of a field guide, supporting government where requested with processed data and input on reports.
  • Increased public awareness and professional enthusiasm for deep sea science within Seychelles and the Western Indian Ocean.
  • Increased knowledge in Seychelles to support long-term national and regional goals and ambition.
  • New networks established within Seychelles, the Western Indian Ocean and internationally to support development of new initiatives.
  • Knowledge sharing between scientists from Seychelles and internationally.
  • New opportunities and relationships built to create longer term projects including a new deep-sea science course and MOOC hosted by the University of Seychelles including for scientists from the Western Indian Ocean (launched in late 2022).
  • New data from a never explored habitat illuminated and shared with the public and policy makers.



The UK NGO Nekton was invited by the Government of Seychelles to undertake a co-produced deep-sea expedition in Seychelles waters in 2019. One of the agreed goals was to create a new knowledge base of deep-sea science in the Indian Ocean region. The expedition was co-developed over the duration of year and included the participation of Seychelles based NGO’s and agencies as per the invitation and leadership of the Government of Seychelles. The series of stakeholder meetings and science planning workshops took place in 2018 and determined a focus on documenting life from the surface to 500m and the associated environmental parameters, to improve our understanding of the patterns of biodiversity and their environmental drivers.


By co-producing deep-sea science, we can start to address the exclusive nature of surveying the deep sea and further ensure that the research conducted is wanted, useful and supportive of national objectives. It is small but important step towards levelling the playing field and helps to create long-term mutually beneficial outcomes and begin to mitigate the effect of parachute science.


Whilst, the Seychelles-Nekton expedition, was limited to 2018 to 2022, the relationships and partnerships that were established have enabled new projects to be realised with partners within the Seychelles and the region. A co-produced approach to science can lead to a long-term relationship built on mutual respect that delivers benefits to people and the planet, at a national and international level.

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Nekton Foundation Nekton

Other contributors

Oxford University and Nekton
Talma Consultancy: Nekton, SOSF, UniSEY