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The DHARMA Initiative
Dharma Logo
Name The DHARMA Initiative
Country The Island
Introduced In Orientation
Type Scientific

Gallery of ImagesTheoriesMain Discussion

The Department of Heuristics And Research on Material Applications Initiative or "The DHARMA Initiative" was created in 1954 by Gerald and Karen DeGroot, and was funded by Alvar Hanso and his Hanso foundation.


Much of what has been revealed about the DHARMA Initiative comes from an orientation film found inside an underground bunker on one of the two islands. This film outlines the purpose and instructions for The Swan. The film has a copyright date of 1970 and is designated as "3 of 6". Pierre Chang narrates the film, which is noticeably cut or damaged in places.

The film provides a background history of the DHARMA Initiative. It states that in 1965 University of Michigan doctoral candidates Karen and Gerald DeGroot founded the DHARMA Initiative with financial backing from the Hanso Foundation. DHARMA brought together "scientists and free thinkers" from around the globe at a "large-scale communal research compound" to conduct research in various disciplines, including meteorology, psychology, parapsychology, zoology, electromagnetism, and a sixth discipline that the film begins to identify as "utopian social . . . ." before being cut off. American psychologist and Walden Two author B.F. Skinner is cited as an influence on the DeGroot's work.

A section of film is discovered by Mr. Eko inside another, apparently inactive station in which the survivors from the tail section have been living. In "What Kate Did", this portion of filmstock, hidden in a hollowed-out Bible, is given to John Locke who splices it into the orientation film. The additional section completes an admonishment against station orientees attempting to use the computer system to communicate with the outside world. In "Live Together, Die Alone", it is revealed that the section was edited out of the film by a former inhabitant of the Swan.

In "?", Mr. Eko and Locke discover Station 5: The Pearl, which has an orientation of its own on a video tape. It also has a copyright date of 1980. The narrator appears to be the same "Marvin Candle", but identifies himself as Dr. Mark Wickmund. According to the video, the Pearl station is intended to observe and document activity in the other stations on the island. It explains that a psychological experiment is taking place in another station, where team members have been conditioned to believe their work is of great importance.

DHARMA Initiative members assigned to The Pearl are instructed to record every action performed in the monitored station, The Swan. Notebooks with these records are sent through a pneumatic tube. The other end of the tube is discovered to lead to a secluded spot, where a large pile of these notebooks lie seemingly untouched.

In "Enter 77", it is revealed by Mikhail Bakunin, the inhabitant of The Flame, that all DHARMA Initiative employees stationed on the island have been "purged" by the "Hostiles" (the name given to the "Others" by the DHARMA Initiative), who were present on the island long before the Initiative arrived. In "The Man Behind the Curtain", it was revealed that Mikhail was in fact telling truth as several Others are shown killing those living in the DHARMA Initiative camp with a deadly gas.

In the Lost Experience, the DHARMA Initiative is revealed to have the purpose of finding a way to change the "Valenzetti Equation", a mathematical formula designed to predict the end of the world. Thomas Mittelwerk, a member of the Hanso Foundation, later says, however, that "The DHARMA Initiative failed".

The StationsEdit

The island is home to several stations that were once—and may continue to be—part of the DHARMA Initiative. There are presumably six stations on the island, each corresponding to a field of research conducted as part of the Initiative.

Two of the stations have been found with the word "QUARANTINE" painted on the inside of their entrances. It is unknown why they have been quarantined, or whether the remaining stations also have this warning. Whether these other stations are still occupied is also unclear.

The Arrow Station

Station 2 was built to develop methods to combat the Others. When it was discovered by the tail section survivors of Oceanic Flight 815, it was almost entirely empty, with minimal lighting and none of the amenities of the Swan station. The only thing inside was a trunk containing some blankets, a radio, a glass eye, and a Bible which concealed a segment of the Swan Station’s Orientation film. Why this segment was removed and transported to a different station remains unclear.

The Swan Station

Station 3 was originally constructed as a laboratory where scientists could work to understand the unique electromagnetic fluctuations emanating from that specific sector of the island. However, shortly after the experiments began, there was an “incident." To prevent another such incident, the Initiative established a system requiring that a person enter a code into a computer terminal every 108 minutes. It has since been destroyed after the Oceanic 815 survivors allowed the countdown timer to reach zero. found in episode orientation

The Flame Logo
The Flame Station

This station was shown on the blast door map. Primarily used for communication with the outside world, Kate, Sayid and Locke stumbled upon the station and it's occupant and the station became the location for a tense situation. The station was later destroyed when Locke entered a command into the computer which triggered the C4, detonating the station.

The Pearl Station

Station 5 was built as a monitoring station deep underground located at the "question mark" on the blast door map. It contains two chairs and a wall full of video screens. Each screen shows a live feed from a different station which the staff of the Pearl can monitor. The inhabitants of the Pearl were to write observations down about their fellow Initiative employees and send them to DHARMA via vacuum tube. While the Orientation Video indicates that those observed by the Pearl staff are part of an experiment, it is the Pearl staff that are the ones conducting a useless task as part of an experiment, as their notes exit the vacuum tube at a dump in the forest. found in episode ?

The Orchid Station

The purpose of the Orchid is to manipulate time and space, but in an excerpt from a video, "Edgar Halliwax" explains that, contrary to DHARMA's statements that the station was for botanical research, the station is used for researching a "Casimir effect" exhibited by the Island.

The Staff Station

This station is where Claire was taken by Ethan, who drugged her and acted as her doctor. It has a surgical room where Claire was injected with medicine, supposedly to keep the baby free from infection. The Staff Station contained a nursery for the baby. Claire was later shown by Alex that the Others planned to remove Aaron from her via caesarean section.

The Hydra Station

Partly underwater and partly above ground, the Hydra Station was used for Zoological research. Thus far, three species of animals have been identified as having been kept there for study: Bears, sharks and dolphins, and a whale is heard in the background (A Tale of Two Cities). As with all the DHARMA stations, it appears to be abandoned, dilapidated and mostly-inoperative, and the cages are currently used only for humans.

The Looking Glass

The Looking Glass is the only known DHARMA station completely underwater. While the purpose of this station is still unknown, it is known that it is being used to block all radios on the island. While Charlie was in the station, he was confronted by two occupants.

The Temple logo
The Temple

The Temple is a sanctuary and the "last safe place on the island". Ben sent Richard and the remaining Others to the camp for safe haven, and planned to send Alex, Karl, and Rousseau there as well. The Temple bears a DHARMA logo of its own, however, it is unknown what purpose it serves, if any.

The Tempest logo
The Tempest Station

The Tempest is a biochemical station that houses a deadly toxic gas. Under the ruse of a power station, Goodwin previously worked there, preventing the release of the gas. Daniel and Charlotte infiltrated the station in a successful attempt to render the gas inert.

The Decoy Station

A station door appears at the Others' camp, which is described as being on the north side of the island, near a rock formation with a hole in it. The entrance is guarded by two "Others" with M14 rifles. Michael claims that this hatch is where the Others keep the people they captured. When Sayid sneaks into "the Others'" camp, he finds that the door to this hatch leads only to a small cave in the rock about the size of a walk-in closet. Found in episode Three Minutes


These are characters that have been involved with The DHARMA Initiative in one way or another.

Gerald and Karen DeGroot

Gerald and Karen DeGroot were doctoral candidates from the University of Michigan, who founded the DHARMA Initiative in 1970. Influenced by B.F. Skinner, Gerald and his partner Karen set out to create a large scale communal research compound where scientists and free thinkers would be able to pursue scientific pursuits.

Alvar Hanso

Hanso later spent his time working in different areas of science and technology attempting to improve the human experience, and trying to create a brighter future for humanity. In 1970, Alvar provided Gerald and Karen DeGroot with the funds necessary to begin their work in the DHARMA Initiative

Pierre Chang

"Marvin Candle" was the narrator and host of the DHARMA Initiative’s Orientation film for Station 3: The Swan; Station 4: The Flame, and the orientation film welcoming new recruits to the island. Chang does not appear to move his left arm during the film, this is due to the fact that that arm is a prosthetic. He also appears as "Mark Wickmund" was the narrator and host of the DHARMA Initiative’s Orientation film for Station 5: The Pearl, and as "Edgar Halliwax" in the orientation film for the Orchid.

Horace Goodspeed
Horace Goodspeed

Horace Goodspeed was a mathematician for the DHARMA Initiative, and possibly worked with the Valenzetti Equation. Horace offered Roger Linus a position with the Initiative, where he would work as a "Work Man" or janitor. Horace was eventually killed when the Hostiles purged the Barracks with a toxic gas, Horace died while sitting on a bench.

Olivia Goodspeed

Olivia was a member of the DHARMA Initiative and was the teacher of Benjamin and Annie. While in class one day, Olivia taught the children about volcanoes, when suddenly the Barracks were rocked by an explosion which was a result of a conflict with the "Hostiles" of the island.


Casey was a gemologist for the DHARMA Initiative and welcomed Roger and Benjamin Linus on their first day to the island with a Namaste greeting.


June was an employee of the DHARMA Initiative and welcomed Roger and Benjamin Linus on their first day to the island with a Namaste greeting.


Mike was a technician employed by the DHARMA Initiative who was present at the dock when Roger and Benjamin Linus arrived on the island.


Opal was a nurse for the DHARMA Initiative who assigned Roger Linus the position of "Work Man". Roger was immediately outraged that instead of changing the world, he would be cleaning up after those who do so. Opal stated that if anything else opened up, he could feel free to apply for it.


Annie was the childhood friend of Benjamin Linus and was a member of the DHARMA Initiative. She was a fellow classmate of Ben's and while in class one day, the Barracks were suddenly shook by an explosion, and Olivia, the class teacher, instructed the students to get into their positions, as she loaded a rifle, and locked the doors.

Roger Linus
Roger Linus

After having trouble finding work, Horace offered Roger a position with the DHARMA Initiative working as a "Work Man" or janitor on the island. While he deeply resented the position, Roger stuck with it for many years until his death by the hand of his son, Benjamin Linus.

Benjamin Linus

Benjamin arrived on the island with his father Roger when he was a child. After seeing a vision of his mother, Ben heads into the jungle to attempt to find her, but instead, finds Richard Alpert, a member of "the hostiles". Ben defects over to the Hostiles, and earns their trust, as the remaining Initiative members are purged.

Kelvin Inman

After leaving the army because "men followed" his orders, Kelvin joined the DHARMA Initiative and was stationed inside the Swan Station alongside a man named Radzinsky. Kelvin would later find a new partner in Desmond, where the two would spend three years together, performing the functions of the station.


Radzinsky was the partner of Kelvin Inman inside the DHARMA Initiative's Swan Station. Radznisky discovered how to fake a lockdown inside the hatch and bring down the blast doors. In doing so, he was able to create an invisible map on the blast door. Radzinsky also made edits to the Swan's Orientation film.

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