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Updated 8 February, 2004

Department of Commerce/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration









The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) mission includes two equally important components: 1) Promoting global environmental stewardship to conserve and wisely manage the Nation's marine and coastal resources; and 2) describing, monitoring, and predicting changes in the Earth's environment.

Types of Environment and Natural Resources Research Supported

  • Long-Term Monitoring of the Oceans and Atmosphere: NOAA provides both satellite and in situ observations, data, and information necessary to understand the Earth system, to assess changes to that system, and to predict future changes. NOAA's polar-orbiting and geostationary satellites provide continuous, long-term, quality environmental observations of the high seas, upper and lower atmosphere, and land areas to sustain major science programs involving global monitoring, sustainable development, climate change, coastal and marine resources, and natural disasters. NOAA data and observations will comprise a significant component of the U.S. contribution to an international global observing system, for which the CENR Task Force provides the U.S. Secretariat.

  • Forecasting and Predicting the Future State of the Atmosphere: Air quality research focuses on gaining a fundamental understanding of the atmospheric processes that must be characterized for credible and useful predictions. The primary issues that NOAA addresses are surface-level ozone, acidic deposition, and visibility. NOAA addresses two important research aspects of global change -- climate change and ozone depletion. NOAA has a significant role in operational observation, research, prediction, and information management efforts for the national global change effort.

  • Social and Economic Sciences Research: This area of study focuses on the human dimensions of global change and the relationship of near-term climate forecasts and their impact on the economy. NOAA provides forecasts and warnings of various natural hazards related to the atmosphere and ocean, to better understanding of the underlying environmental processes and predictive methodologies of natural hazards. NOAA provides river and flood and hydrological forecasts and warnings for the protection of life and property. Research is geared to advanced water quantity forecasting.

  • Monitoring Renewable Marine Resource Base and Their Attendant Uses: NOAA pursues a multidisciplinary approach to enhance the ability of scientists and managers to identify, understand, and manage anthropogenic impacts to marine ecosystems against a background of natural system variability. NOAA's social and economic sciences research focuses on the social and economic impacts of fisheries management and damage assessment methodologies.

  • Coastal and Marine Observations, Modeling, Assessment, Ecosystem Prediction, and Information Management: Ongoing research includes remote sensing, modeling of oceanic and near-shore processes, developing key indicators of coastal and marine ecosystem health, effects of cumulative impacts on coastal and marine environments, and environmental valuation and human dimensions research.

  • Research on and Management of Marine Ecosystems and Their Biodiversity: Research in this area includes surveying and monitoring the abundance of and trends in marine biota; measuring and evaluating the impacts of pollution, exotic species, and habitat degradation on marine biodiversity and ecosystem integrity; and understanding and generating models to simulate large-scale marine ecosystems. NOAA's role extends to the restoration of degraded ecosystems and establishment and management of marine and estuarine sanctuaries and reserves.

Research Funding Opportunities

Coastal Ocean Program

The Coastal Ocean Program (COP) Office regularly issues funding announcements to support multi-investigator, multidisciplinary projects of modeling, process studies, observations, and synthesis. The goal of these efforts is to improve understanding and management of coastal and living resources, particularly in the context of integrated resource management, and to improve predictions of extreme weather and ocean conditions. These AOs are distributed widely, electronically and otherwise, to Government agencies, academia, and to the general scientific and management communities; they are also posted on the COP Home Page and Detailed instructions are included in each announcement on project goals, how to apply and application requirements, and points of contact for additional information. The COP Office does not accept unsolicited proposals.

Coastal and marine ecological research studies focus on regional-scale systems, investigate high-priority coastal ecosystem issues, and develop tools and information for use in management and policy decisions. These projects focus on understanding the factors that influence fish population levels; on understanding the cumulative effects of multiple stressors on coastal ecosystems; and on ecosystem-specific issues. The general life-cycle designs of the projects are 4 to 6 years, and are intended to develop a fundamental understanding of ecosystems or processes; relate that understanding to decisionmakers; and develop useful methods or tools for application of that scientific understanding. Present and planned efforts follow:

  • Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystem Study will develop and evaluate ecosystem models that relate the effects of land use, ocean dynamics, and natural and anthropogenic stressors on coastal-dependent resources.

  • The Bering Sea Fisheries Oceanography Coordinated Investigation (BS- FOCI) is being conducted both to define the stock structure of Bering Sea pollock through investigation of basin circulation and to reduce uncertainty in pollock stock forecasts. Pollock is currently the largest single-species fishery in the world. This study focuses on larval transport patterns in relation to oceanographic phenomena, DNA studies, and numerical modeling. COP will extend this effort to an additional study on the linkage among environmental factors, recruitment, growth rates, predation, and distribution of key ecosystem components. This planned Bering Sea Ecosystem Study expansion will complement the ongoing fisheries oceanography project by developing a focus on ecosystem-wide resource dynamics.

  • Georges Bank, off the New England coast, COP-sponsored research is examining the ecosystem characteristics that affect efforts to restore cod and haddock populations, including the feeding behavior of predators and the availability and distribution of food for commercial species. This Georges Bank Predation and Ecosystem Structure Study ties closely with the joint NSF/NOAA Georges Bank Global Ecosystems Dynamics (GLOBEC) study. GLOBEC is a large multidisciplinary, multiyear oceanographic effort to predict changes in the distribution and abundance of other key species as a result of changes in their physical and biotic environment, as well as to anticipate how their populations might respond to climate change. The effort includes broad- scale surveys of the entire Bank, process studies, and modeling.

  • The South Atlantic Bight Recruitment Experiment (SABRE) is focusing on understanding the relationship between environmental variation and recruitment of Atlantic menhaden, the most economically important fishery in the South Atlantic Bight, as well as other estuarine-dependent species. Estuarine ecosystems are known to influence not only the productivity of commercial and recreational resources but also the movements of species, nutrients, and toxic contaminants. The COP plans to implement a second program -- the Land Use Coastal Ecosystem Study -- to develop better data and information to link anticipated changes in human populations and land-use activities to the transport, fate, and biological effects of nutrients and contaminants; the ecological health of coastal rivers, estuaries, and near- coastal areas; and productivity of living marine resources.

  • The Gulf of Mexico Nutrient Enhanced Coastal Ocean Productivity Study (NECOP) has researched the physical, chemical, biological, and geological processes that relate anthropogenic nutrient enrichment in the Mississippi/Atchafalaya River outflows to productivity in the Gulf of Mexico. NECOP has demonstrated that seasonal hypoxia is driven by river nutrient load, and a preliminary water quality computer model has been developed that predicts the response of primary productivity and dissolved oxygen to changes in nutrient loadings.

  • Florida Bay Study is part of a larger interagency effort to restore water quality and ecosystem integrity to all of South Florida. COP's Florida Bay research focuses on hydrographic linkages between the Bay and surrounding environments; atmospheric models of interactions between coastal and terrestrial weather systems; effects of long-term sea-level change; the nursery areas for coastal fisheries; modification of trophic relationships; and measurement of toxic contaminant levels in the Bay's water supplies.

  • Florida Keys Study is developing stress indicators for key organisms and ecological processes and characterizing the effects of these stressors. Both human-induced and natural stressors will be studied with particular attention to overfishing, temperature, salinity, coastal storms, turbidity and sedimentation, and nutrients. The goal is to integrate this information into a process-oriented, ecosystem-level model useful for management.

  • Great Lakes Areas of Concern have been identified by the International Joint Commission. Major factors in the degradation of the Great Lakes are nutrient enrichment, sedimentation, and toxic contamination. The planned NSF/COP program will develop and test strategies for assessing and predicting impacts of multiple stressors with an evaluation of the importance of non- point source pollution and episodic events, a model of ecosystem behavior under stress, and a management model for resource and habitat issues.

  • The Patuxent River Ecosystem Study will develop a framework for understanding, predicting, and managing the effects of multiple stressors on this degraded sub-estuary of the Chesapeake Bay. This study uses large field enclosures and laboratory experiments to test the combined effects of major contributing stressors, such as inorganic toxic compounds and nutrients.

In addition, COP also is committed to developing technical support for the above studies. This includes providing for development of Coastal Remote Sensing, NOAA Coast Watch, Ocean Color, Coastal Forecast System - Great Lakes and West Coast Regions, and the Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP).

FY96 opportunities in the Coastal Ocean Program follow:

  • The Southeast Bering Sea Carrying Capacity program goal is to study the southeastern Bering Sea ecosystem and the role of juvenile pollock in it, including the factors that affect their survival. An announcement of funding opportunity has been released to support a scientific program of study of pollock and their interaction with the southeastern Bering Sea ecosystem.

  • The Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystem Regional Study is intended to provide the public, users of coastal resources, and management agencies with an improved understanding of how Pacific Northwest ecosystems respond to natural and human-induced perturbations. An announcement of funding opportunity has been released to support a synthesis of current knowledge in the following areas: Climate-oceanic regimes, salmon survival and ecosystem conditions, riverine ecosystems productivity, estuarine productivity, human intervention in the coastal ecosystem, socioeconomic consequences of ecosystem change, and management in relation to ecosystem health.

  • The Land Use Coastal Ecosystem Study is focused on establishing a functional understanding of environmental and socioeconomic trends that characterize the southeastern U.S. coastal region. It will fill critical information gaps that currently limit the identification of links between population and development trends, and their effects on the region's ecosystems. An announcement of funding opportunity is tentatively planned for FY97 to support compilation of extant South Carolina and Georgia coastal ecosystem data, identification of information gaps, and evaluation of the reliability of existing information and land use-ecosystem models.

  • The Great Lakes Regional Ecosystem Study, which is being developed jointly with NSF, will focus on developing the tools and capabilities to improve management of coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems. An announcement of funding opportunity is tentatively planned for FY96 to support a series of multidisciplinary studies of Great Lakes ecosystem characteristics and processes to significantly improve Great Lakes environmental impact and resource management.

  • The Brown Tide Ecosystem Study will investigate brown tide characteristics and related environmental consequences in the Peconic estuary of Long Island Sound. An announcement of funding opportunity has been released.

Queries about any of the above COP funding opportunities should be directed to the Director of the NOAA Coastal Ocean Office.
Donald Scavia
301.713.3338 (voice)
301.713.4044 (fax)

Climate and Global Change Program

NOAA's Climate and Global Change Program is a key contributing element of the USGCRP, and is designed to complement other agency contributions to that national effort.

Current program plans assume that over 50% of the total resources for this program will support extramural efforts. Program Announcements are issued annually for projects to be conducted by investigators both inside and outside of NOAA, primarily over a 1-, 2-, or 3-year period. All submissions should be directed to:

NOAA/Office of Global Programs (OGP)
1100 Wayne Avenue
Suite 1225 Silver Spring, MD 20910-5603
Attn: Irma duPree
301.427.2089 x17 (voice)
301.427.2073 (fax)

NOAA maintains a balanced program of observations that includes analytical studies, climate prediction, and information management. There are ongoing efforts in operational in situ and satellite observations with an emphasis on oceanic and atmospheric dynamics (including sea level), circulation and chemistry, and development of new measurement techniques. Research is supported on ocean-atmosphere interactions, the global hydrological cycle, the role of ocean circulation and biogeochemical dynamics in climate changes, atmospheric trace gas/climate interactions, and the response of marine ecosystems and living resources to climate changes and related stress. Efforts to improve climate modeling, prediction, and information management capabilities are also supported, as are global change economics, human dimensions research, archival management, and dissemination of data and information useful for global change research.

Related NOAA activities include advance short-term forecast and warning services; prediction, observation, and process research in implementing seasonal to interannual climate forecasts; prediction and assessment of decadal to centennial environmental change; facilitating the dissemination of global change information; and strengthening facets of environmental technology. The Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) also has ongoing programs in atmospheric chemistry, physical properties of CFC alternatives and engineering system design of systems utilizing CFC alternatives.

Lisa Farrow/OGP
301.427.2089 x25 (voice)
301.427.2082 (fax)

Description of Opportunities by Program

In FY97, NOAA will give priority attention to individual proposals in the areas listed below. Investigators are asked to specify clearly which of these areas is being pursued. The names, affiliations, and phone numbers of relevant Climate and Global Change Program Officers are provided. Funding for some programs may be limited to ongoing projects or may be used to fund projects proposed in FY96 that were unable to be funded due to unusual budgetary circumstances. New opportunities are expected for 1997 and beyond around May or June, with full proposals due in August.

Prospective applicants should communicate with Program Officers for information on priorities within program elements and prospects for funding. Proposals should be sent to the NOAA Office of Global Programs rather than to individual Program Officers, unless specifically stated otherwise in the program descriptions below:

  • Atlantic Climate Change/World Ocean Circulation Experiment : The goal of this program is to determine the nature and influence of interactions between the meridional circulation of the Atlantic Ocean, sea surface temperature and salinity, and the global atmosphere.
    David Goodrich/OGP
    301.427.2089 x38 (voice)

  • Atmospheric Chemistry : The Atmospheric Chemistry Project focuses on global monitoring, process-oriented laboratory and field studies, and theoretical modeling to improve the predictive understanding of atmospheric trace gases that influence the Earth's chemical and radiative balance.
    Joel Levy/OGP
    301.427.2089 x21 (voice)

    Fred C. Fehsenfeld/Aeronomy Lab
    303.497.5819 (voice)

  • Climate Change Data and Detection : The scientific goals of this element include efforts to provide data and information management support (i.e., data assembly, processing, inventory, access, distribution, and archiving) for a variety of national and international programs of primary interest to NOAA's Climate and Global Change Program; to provide data and information management support related to cross-cutting science efforts necessary to assess seasonal, interannual, decadal, and longer climate variations and changes; to document the quantitative character of observed climate variations and changes; and to attribute changes in the observed climate record to specific climate forcings.
    Tom Karl/NESDIS
    704.271.4319 (voice)

    Bill Murray/OGP
    301.427.2089 x26 (voice)

    Chris Miller/NESDIS
    202.606.5012 (voice)

  • Climate Observations : This program element focuses on ocean, atmosphere, and land surface climate observations, measurement systems, and techniques. It is a blend of two former elements, Operational Measurements (OM) and Long-Term Ocean Observations (L-TOO).
    Bill Murray/OGP
    301.427.2089 x26 (voice)

  • Economics and Human Dimensions of Climate Fluctuations : The purpose of this program is to advance our understanding of the relationship between human society and climate system fluctuation.
    Claudia Nierenberg/OGP
    301.427.2089 x46 (voice)

    Caitlin Simpson/OGP
    301.427.2089 x47 (voice)

  • Education : The principal objective of the Climate and Global Change Education Program is to develop innovative and creative methods for educating community leaders and the general public concerning current knowledge on climate and global change issues, such as natural climate variability, ozone depletion, greenhouse warming, marine and terrestrial response, and sea level rise.
    Daphne Gemmill/OGP
    301.427.2089 x20 (voice)

  • Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX) : NOAA's principal contribution to GEWEX will be to improve understanding of physical processes associated with the transfer of heat, moisture, and momentum across the land/atmosphere interface and through the atmospheric boundary layer. Particular emphasis will be placed on issues involving integration of these processes in climate models.
    Rick Lawford/OGP
    301.427.2089 x40 (voice)

  • Global Ocean-Atmosphere-Land System (GOALS) : The objectives of the GOALS Program are to understand global climate variability on seasonal-to-interannual time scales; to determine the extent to which this variability is predictable; to develop the observational, theoretical, and computational means to predict this variability; and to make experimental predictions within the limits of proven feasibility.
    Michael Patterson/OGP
    301.427.2089 x12 (voice)

  • Ocean-Atmosphere Carbon Exchange Study (OACES) : This program is part of NOAA's contribution to the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, seeking to improve understanding of the role of the ocean in sequestering the increasing burden of anthropogenically derived carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
    James F. Todd/OGP
    301.427.2089 x32 (voice)

  • Paleoclimatology : The Paleoclimatology Program funds projects that utilize seasonally to annually dated paleoclimate time series to develop an understanding of seasonal-to century-scale climate variability and predictability during the Holocene. This includes development of new, high-resolution time series from climatically sensitive areas presently without adequate data coverage, and data sets that reconstruct large-scale historical patterns of climatic change that can be used to verify climate and ocean models. Investigators from the paleoclimate and modern climate dynamics communities are encouraged to collaborate on proposals.
    Mark Eakin/OGP
    301.427.2089 x19 (voice)

    Jonathan Overpeck/NGDC
    303.497.6172 (voice)

National Sea Grant College Program

The National Sea Grant College Program sponsors research, education, training, and advisory service activities in order to increase the understanding, development, and wise use of ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes resources. The Secretary of Commerce, through NOAA, awards grants on a competitive basis for these purposes. One-third of the total grant award must come from non-Federal matching funds. The Federal appropriation for FY95 was $54.3 million. The core of the program is carried out through a network of 29 Sea Grant College Programs, located in coastal and Great Lakes states, involving hundreds of universities nationwide. Applicants should contact the Sea Grant College Program in their area or the National Sea Grant Office in NOAA:

NOAA/National Sea Grant Office
1315 East West Highway
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301.713.2448 (voice)
301.713.0799 (fax)

The National Sea Grant College Program supports a broad variety of research, education, and outreach activities related to the environment and natural resources, as described below.

Economic Leadership

Sea Grant research, education, and advisory programs will produce the scientific knowledge and technology required to strengthen U.S. leadership in ocean and marine-related industries and to enhance the social, environmental, and economic well-being of coastal communities:

  • Commercial Biotechnology : Sea Grant contributes to the pharmaceutical, chemical, and seafood industries by using the tools of biotechnology. Research and technology transfer programs develop fundamental knowledge of natural products and processes of marine organisms to provide models for new commercial products and new approaches to industrial processing and bioprocessing.

  • Environmental Technology : Sea Grant develops technologies that enhance environmental monitoring and assessment required to improve policymaking, to prevent and control pollution, and to restore polluted areas. Emphasis is on development of instrumentation and autonomous platforms for remote sensing and sampling of environmental features; technology and biotechnology that reduces or eliminates pollutant discharge in waste streams from seafood processing and aquaculture facilities; and processes that restore or remediate contaminated Great Lakes and coastal waters and sediments.

  • Ecosystem-Based Fisheries Management : Assessing the status of fisheries resources and predicting the maximum catch for sustained profitability must incorporate knowledge of ecosystems because traditional species-by-species approaches lack the ability to account for ecosystem changes. Sea Grant research is focused on improving prediction of future fishery yields through development of better assessment tools to account for population changes, natural and human causes of change in the environment, and species interaction.

  • Assessing the Social and Economic Aspects of Fisheries Management : Declining stocks have led to increased competition for available resources. Identification of feasible and effective management tools is a high priority. Sea Grant, through research and information transfer, will help fisheries managers, industry, and coastal communities understand the social, economic, and legal impacts resulting from new management strategies.

  • Minimizing Bycatch : Although the ecosystem implications of fishery bycatch are not understood, there may be waste caused by bycatch in some of the Nation's fisheries. In addition, there is the unwanted capture of marine mammals, endangered or threatened species, and commercial fish allocated to other fisheries. Sea Grant research continues to evaluate the efficacy of devices and practices designed to minimize bycatch, to improve the economic return to the industry by more effective harvest of target species, and to conserve protected species.

  • Enhancing Wild Stocks through Aquaculture : Sea Grant research is focused on developing technology for using aquaculture to enhance natural populations of key aquatic species and on evaluating the technical and economic feasibility of this approach to stock restoration.

  • Improve Aquaculture Production Systems : Coastal aquaculture industries are confronted by limited water supply and quality, competition from other resource users, and a host of environmental obstacles. Sea Grant research will focus on aquaculture systems -- including offshore cages and pens, high-density recirculating systems for onshore production, and practices required to reduce harmful impacts on coastal systems -- to provide sustained water quality and reduce nearshore conflicts.

  • Improve Aquaculture Husbandry : Sea Grant research to improve brood stock and to meet the demand for reliable seed stocks targets genetics, physiology, disease diagnosis and control, nutrition, biotechnology, and systems management.

  • Seafood Quality and Safety : Sea Grant works with seafood processors to develop techniques that will decrease costs and ensure high-quality products. These include implementation of efficient manufacturing processes, use of biochemical techniques to determine food quality, and education of consumers, media, and public health officials on issues of seafood safety.

  • Seafood Processing Technology and Practices : To remain competitive, domestic processors must increase efficiency through technological improvements in processing, storage and transportation, and control of costs through improved worker efficiency and reduced accidents and lost time. Priority research topics include improving energy and processing efficiency in production of fresh, frozen, and canned products; using automation in production; and improving technology for storing and transporting seafood.

  • Seafood Waste Management and Byproduct Recovery : New techniques are required to cut down the wastes from processing, including those for increased byproduct recovery and for treatment of residual waters. Sea Grant develops technology for water conservation, waste management, effluent control, and recovery of byproducts such as enzymes, hormones, and aquacultural feed.

  • Seafood Product Development : Cultured and wild-harvested living marine resources provide opportunities to expand the market for seafood by developing new products and new product forms. Sea Grant researchers develop technology for producing high-quality products from under-utilized and mixed species, especially those with potential as replacements for depleted traditional species.

Coastal Ecosystem Health and Environmental Safety

Sea Grant strives to protect and enhance coastal ecosystem health as the basis for sustained growth of the coastal economy. Goals include improved water quality in coastal and Great Lakes ecosystems; high-quality habitats for living marine resources; a prosperous and environmentally sound seafood production and processing sector; and the integration of the physical, natural, and social sciences in the development of resource management policies:

  • Contaminants : Control of toxic substances and their elimination from the environment is a fundamental requirement for sustaining coastal ecosystems and their resources. Sea Grant emphasizes programs on contaminant sources, trends, transport, fate, and effects.

  • Eutrophication : Sea Grant researchers continue to investigate the causes and consequences of eutrophication in coastal and estuarine waters and to work with policymakers to identify cost-effective alternatives for control.

  • Biotoxins : Sea Grant, in close collaboration with public health officials, seeks to develop new methods for detecting these toxic compounds and for conducting the ecological research needed to predict and mitigate outbreaks.

  • Habitat Loss and Modification : Sea Grant, in collaboration with scientists from the National Marine Fisheries Service and regional and State resource agencies, seek a better understanding of the role estuarine and coastal habitats play in maintaining the health of living marine and Great Lakes resources.

  • Nonindigenous Species : Using tools from engineering, biotechnology, ecology, and genetics, Sea Grant researchers help identify these organisms and their life cycle and ecological relationships. With outreach specialists, Sea Grant entrains Government and industry participation to develop cost- effective, environmentally sound management strategies.

  • Coastal Development : Population density and growth continues to place extraordinary demands on coastal communities. To help minimize the impact of coastal hazards, Sea Grant evaluates alternative policies (e.g., building codes, legal provisions, economic incentives) and works closely with community leaders to assess their role in hazard reduction.

  • Human Dimensions of Coastal Change : Sea Grant develops new approaches for evaluating the effectiveness of policies and management approaches to coastal resources; assesses the usefulness of new tools and management approaches; analyzes and provides alternatives for the resolution of conflicts between coastal resource users; and assesses the capacity of legal and management schemes to deal with the issues critical to sustaining coastal ecosystem health and economic vitality.

Education and Human Resources

Sea Grant draws on its partnership of people, universities, government, and business to inform and educate citizens about the oceans and their resources, and to provide the advanced education required to ensure the contributions of a technically trained work force. Two strategic needs have been identified -- the first for development of a highly trained work force, and the other, enhanced scientific and environmental education. To address these needs, Sea Grant focuses on four main audiences: 1) Precollege teachers; 2) students in undergraduate and graduate science, engineering, and policy programs; 3) adults whose occupations are tied to marine and coastal resources (commercial and recreational fishers, resource planners, coastal developers, government decisionmakers); and 4) the general public:

  • Scientists and Engineers : The Nation requires a reliable supply of qualified scientists and engineers in marine and coastal fields, and Sea Grant provides fellowships and research assistantships to highly qualified students. In addition, Sea Grant has initiated an industrial fellowship program in which qualified graduate students conduct research within a corporate setting under both academic and industrial supervision.

  • Resource Managers : To meet the growing need for policy and resource managers at all levels of government, Sea Grant is increasing the number of decisionmakers with post-graduate education in natural resource management; developing workshops that teach integrated ecosystem management techniques to local decisionmakers using advanced technologies; and developing outreach programs to address merging coastal resource issues such as habitat restoration and water pollution.

  • Technical Training : With realignment of the U.S. economy away from primary manufacturing and natural resource extraction, a need exists to focus human resource development on the emerging industrial and service sectors related to marine industry. Sea grant develops training, retraining, and job-to-work programs for employees of marine industries (such as boat building, marine electronics, aquaculture, and recreation and tourism).

  • Precollege Education : The precollege (K-12) educational system has not met the U.S. need for informed graduates in science and mathematics. During the coming decade, Sea Grant educators will design, implement, and assess education programs to complement the national systemic initiatives to improve K-12 education. The goal is to provide current research-based marine and coastal information and curricula that reflect a multidisciplinary base, as well as a focus on issues relevant to local communities and ecosystems.

Sea Grant marine education has always stressed the natural sciences but included other disciplines such as the social sciences, humanities, and the arts. The main strategy for transferring this knowledge concentrates on teaching the teacher through training and direct outreach to classrooms. Through programs such as Operation Pathfinder, Sea Grant makes special efforts to include minority teachers, teachers of minority students, and particularly students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

National Undersea Research Program

The National Undersea Research Program (NURP) provides support to scientists and engineers to study biological, chemical, geological, and physical processes in the world's oceans and lakes. The overall program is focused on processes and change over space and time. NURP assists researchers in conducting what are considered by NOAA and the marine community to be crucial research programs. To execute these programs, NURP provides investigators with modern undersea facilities, including submersibles, habitats, air and mixed gas scuba, and remotely operated vehicles. The Federal appropriation for FY95 was $14.4 million.

A major part of the research program is carried out by a network of National Undersea Research Centers. These Centers serve as extensions of the National Office, and are located strategically to develop and execute the field programs, which are formed of individual research projects from research proposals submitted to NURP. Supported by the National Office, the Centers offer scientists facilities for research primarily in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone. Depths of the research projects range from shallow to 6,000 m. Some of the ecosystems being studied are associated with hardgrounds, sediments, coral reefs, seamounts, volcanoes, vents, and the water column.

The National Office is responsible for the architecture, management, and direction of the program. Programs of wide societal impact are administered directly by NURP. These include diving safety and physiology, improvements in the technology and development of submersible platforms, and outreach activities. Annual operation of the submersible Alvin is partially funded by NURP. In addition, NURP provides the civilian science community access to the U.S. Navy deep sea assets such as the submersibles Sea Cliff and Turtle and a 6,000-m remotely operated vehicle.

Requests for support may be made by scientists and engineers at universities or research institutions. For further information, applicants should contact the NURP National Undersea Research Center in their region or the NURP National Office in NOAA. NURP also maintains a Home Page that provides information on its programs ( Addresses for the National Office and the Centers follow:

National Office
National Undersea Research Program
1315 East-West Highway, Code R/OR2
Silver Spring, MD 20910
301.713.2427 (voice)
301.713.0799 (fax)

Northeastern U.S., Great Lakes, and other Large Lakes of the World
University of Connecticut - Avery Point
Groton, CT 06340
860.445.4714 (voice)
860.445.2969 (fax)

Southeastern U.S., Gulf of Mexico, and AQUARIUS Habitat
University of North Carolina - Wilmington
7205 Wrightsville Avenue
Wilmington, NC 28043
910.256.5133 (voice)
910.256.8856 (fax)

Institute of Marine Coastal Science
Rutgers University
P.O. Box 231
New Brunswick, NJ 08903
908.932.6555 (voice)
908.932.8578 (fax)

Caribbean Marine Research Center
1501 North Point Parkway
West Palm Beach, FL 33407
407.471.7552 (voice)
407.471.7553 (fax)

West Coast U.S. and Polar Regions
School of Fisheries and Ocean Science
University of Alaska
Fairbanks, AK 99775-1090
907.474.5870 (voice)
907.474.5804 (fax)

Hawaii and Other Pacific Islands
University of Hawaii - Manoa
1000 Pope Road, MSB 226
Honolulu, HI 96822
808.956.6802 (voice)
808.956.2136 (fax)

NURP is an integrated program focusing on research associated with processes in the world's oceans and the Great Lakes in order to understand the global ecosystem that will lead to predicting changes in that system. The program promotes studies relating to the use of ocean and lake resources to the ecosystem. NURP provides underwater stock assessments of commercially valuable species for comparison with assessments from traditional methods; determines the function of habitats as refuges, reproductive areas, recruitment zones, and nursery areas for exploited species; investigates environmental factors influencing recruitment; determines habitat requirements; assesses the effects of commercial fishing gear on habitat productivity, biodiversity, and ecosystem stability; and develops non-destructive stock assessment methods. Specific areas of research follow:

  • Ecosystem Health and Coastal Processes : NURP assesses the effects on coastal and Great Lakes environments, particularly coral reefs and contaminant and nutrient cycling; distinguishes natural from human- induced influences on stressed ecosystems; and contributes to understanding the relationships between habitat complexity and biodiversity.

  • Seafloor Processes : NURP studies the occurrence and significance of sea-bottom fluid vents to global climate change and ocean temperature; quantifies sea-bottom greenhouse gas sources and contributions; determines paleoclimatic records from coral reef cores; predicts environmental impacts of marine crust mining; and investigates processes leading to commercial mineral deposits.

  • Undersea Technology : NURP develops sampling and diving technologies to improve scientific capability, including enhanced optical and acoustic imaging systems; hard rock submersible-mounted drills; underwater elevators for large sample retrieval; standardized mounting and power sources for samplers leading to interchangeable submersible equipment packages; improved biological samplers; and new technology and procedures for divers.

  • Diving Safety and Physiology : NURP improves decompression procedures for nitrox diving; collects and disseminates information on diving-related accidents and diving accident management; develops safer certification and training standards for air and nitrox diving; and improves understanding of hyperbaric physiology.

National Ocean Service

Section 315 of the Coastal Zone Management Act (CZMA) of 1972 authorized the establishment of "estuarine sanctuaries" to serve as field laboratories for the conduct of research and education related to enhancing coastal management. In 1974, DOC/NOAA designated South Slough the first estuarine sanctuary. In 1985, Congress amended the CZMA, changing the name to the National Estuarine Research Reserve System (NERRS) and increasing the research dimension of the program. Over the past 2 decades, approximately one new reserve has been designated per year. As of February 1996, 22 research reserves have been designated, placing nearly 440,000 acres of estuarine waters, wetlands, and uplands into active management and stewardship.

The National Ocean Service (NOS) Sanctuaries and Reserves Division (SRD) of the Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management solicits competitive research proposals for management-related projects that enhance scientific understanding of Reserve environments; provide information needed by Reserve Managers and coastal zone decisionmakers; and improve public awareness of estuaries and estuarine management issues. Research projects may be oriented to specific Reserves; however, projects that involve or benefit more than one Reserve in the national system are given higher priority.

The primary research objective for NERRS is the study of the causes and effects of natural and anthropogenically induced change in the ecology of estuarine and estuarine-like ecosystems. All research funded through SRD is designed to provide information of significant value to the development and implementation of resource management policy governing the U.S. coastal zone, for which NOAA's Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management has management and regulatory responsibilities. In FY93, SRD established a series of 2-year research priority categories to serve as foci for the SRD competitive research program. The FY96 research priority is habitat restoration.

Research funding opportunities are announced annually in the Federal Register in the form of a Request for Proposals (RFP). Interested parties may apply for funds by submitting a research proposal in response to SRD's RFP. Occasionally, SRD funds an unsolicited proposal, but only if it addresses an emergency research need at one of the Reserve sites within NERRS.

SRD is in the process of revising the competitive research program to fund graduate assistantships instead of projects. The graduate assistantships will be funded competitively through an open competition. Further details are being developed, and will be included in an RFP slated for release late in 1996.
Randall Schneider/NERRS
301.713.3132 x126 (voice)
301.713.0404 (fax)

Dwight D. Trueblood/SRD
301.713.3145 x174 (voice)
301.713.0404 (fax)

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