The world’s deep ocean remains largely unexplored, leaving significant gaps in the basic environmental intelligence needed to manage and protect ocean resources and forecast future environmental changes. The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) is the only federal organization dedicated to exploring the unknown reaches of our ocean.
We support deep-ocean expeditions to gather science at, and make assessments of, previously unexplored areas. We invest in new technologies and state-of-the-art platforms and vehicles, develop and implement better data and information management measures, and inform and educate society about our ocean. Our work is filling those gaps in knowledge of deep-water areas, delivering information critical to addressing current and emerging science and management issues.
The reliable and authoritative science and data that results from our work is foundational to making everyday decisions needed to not only to manage and protect our ocean, but also to protect lives, property, and economic well-being.
Mission: OER explores the ocean to enhance research, policy, and management decisions; to develop new lines of scientific inquiry; and to advise NOAA and the nation on critical issues by:
Vision: The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research catalyzes discovery to transform understanding of the global ocean.
Learn more about the work we do by exploring the pages listed below.
From expedition planning and operations to technology, data management, education, and more, visit this page to learn about OER's expertise, work products, and services.
Check out this page to learn more about what is happening in OER, including recent accomplishments and announcements as well as upcoming events and activities.
Access press releases distributed by OER and our partners highlighting our work.
Visit this page for information about federal funding opportunities through OER. Note that the funding opportunity for fiscal year 2014 is now closed.
In 2012, an Ocean Exploration Review Panel conducted the first-ever formal, independent review of the NOAA Ocean Exploration Program. This page contains documents from the review, as well as the panel's final report outlining the results of the review.
Ocean Exploration 2020: A National Forum
On July 19-21, 2013, NOAA and the Aquarium of the Pacific co-hosted Ocean Exploration 2020: A National Forum. This was the first-ever such event and was a unique opportunity to help shape national ocean exploration in the coming decade, per the President's Panel Report of 2000 that called for the establishment of a national program of ocean exploration, with discovery and the spirit of challenge as cornerstones.
OER has funded multiple ocean explorations since 2001. Peer-reviewed publications resulting from these missions are available through the OER Digital Atlas, an online map index providing centralized access to distributed information resulting from exploration. A full, ten-year bibliography is also available.
Browse OER Annual Reports to learn more about our activities and accomplishments over the years.
Revised September 18, 2014 by the NOAA Ocean Explorer Webmaster
Office of Ocean Exploration and Research | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
U.S. Department of Commerce