“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.”
- H. P. Lovecraft

Welcome to the Ocean Memory Project. We are a collaborative network of researchers from the Sciences, Arts and Humanities dedicated to advancing a new field of scholarship and creative expression. The idea for this project emerged from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiatives (NAKFI) Conference on the Deep Blue Sea, has developed further under three interconnected seed grants from NAKFI, and will be supported for the next 4 years (through 2022) by a NAKFI Challenge award. We will use NAKFI best practices to advance academic and artistic means to define, connect and expand cross-disciplinary research on ocean memory through seed seminars, workshops, and sub-grants for graduate assistantships, circulating information and ideas to help establish this new line of inquiry.

Environmental changes, on short and long time scales, are recorded in ocean “memories” via genetic and epigenetic mechanisms within organisms, and physical and chemical traits within the dynamic structure of the ocean itself. If cognitive memory is best defined as the faculty of the mind by which information is ​encoded, stored, and retrieved, then the ocean’s capacity for telling its many stories is boundless. Using those stories to envision and chart the future of the ocean and its relationship to humankind is critical to the planet’s health and ours. By unlocking the ocean’s memories, a thriving community of artists, scientists and other scholars aims for a sea change in our ability to address challenges of the Anthropocene.

To realize this bold community effort, we will be expanding to include perspectives not currently represented by our launching team. Contact us.


We are very excited to announce that the Ocean Memory Project has been awarded a NAKFI Challenge grant that will support our next 4 years of investigating the intersection of ocean and memory in all of its aspects.

Who We are

The launching team for the NAKFI Challenge award

Launching PIs

Jody W. Deming

Microbial Oceanography
Arctic Studies
University of Washington
Jody Deming's Ecosystem Lab

Daniel Kohn

Art / Science Interface

Heather Spence

Marine Biology
Marine Acoustics

Advisory Council Host & Fiscal Sponsor

Tim Broderick

Advanced Biotechnology
Underwater Human Experiences

Margot H. knight

Fiscal Sponsor
Administration of Arts and Art-Science Retreats


Neil Banas

Physical Oceanography
Ecosystem Modeling

Jonathon Berger

Music Composition Theory
Cognition Acoustics

Mandy Joye

Microbial Ecology
Organic Chemistry
Marine Ecology

Todd Michaels


Tim Weaver

Emergent Digital Practices
Ecological Memory
Bioenvironmental Engineering


  • Alan Leonardi
  • Alyson Santoro
  • Anna Davidson
  • Christine Lee
  • John Baross
  • Julie Huber
  • lisa d'amour
  • Melody Jue
  • Patrick Rafter
  • Peter Pirolli
  • Rebecca Rutstein
  • Rika Anderson
  • Susan Lang

Fiscal Sponsor

  • Djerassi Resident Artists Program

Host Institutions

  • JCVI
  • Stanford U
  • U of Georgia
  • U of Washington
  • U of Strathclyde
  • U of Denver
  • Djerassi Resident Artists Program

With generous support from:

  • A 4-year $500,000 grant from the National Academies Keck Futures Initiative.
  • In-kind support from the institutions that will host seed seminars, workshops and a cresting conference.
  • Three initial seed grants from NAKFI emerging from the 2016 NAKFi Conference on Discovering the Deep Blue Sea: Research, Innovation, Social Engagement.

Contact Us

We seek to embrace diversity in all its forms. If "ocean memory" speaks to you; if you are curious; reach out to us

Look for this site to evolve as we develop and present our program for the coming years.