Given the immense breadth and scope of ocean exploration, it would be impossible for us to meet our mission without working closely with other federal and state agencies, academic institutions, non-profit organizations, and private industry. This is why partnerships play such a crucial role in all of the work that we accomplish within the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER).
OER's partnerships leverage complementary expertise and produce innovations in exploration tools and capabilities. By working with institutions with a range of experience, expertise, and creativity, we are able to enhance the potential for significant new advances in discovery, understanding, and action. We are also working to coordinate a national program for ocean exploration, the foundation of which will need to be built on strong and successful partnerships across the exploration community.
Below are just a few highlights from our partners and partnership-based projects that we have been involved with.
The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research is teaming up with the NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service, Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, and Integrated Ocean Observing System, as well as the J.C. Venter Institute and the Scripps Institute of Oceanography to enhance ecosystem observation programs by integrating genome-enabled techniques and technologies (i.e., ‘omics) into the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI). CalCOFI is a multi-partner, long-term ecosystem and fisheries study off the coast of California. The first quarterly CalCOFI expedition that includes ‘omics is currently at sea (Nov. 8–25). OER is overseeing the implementation of this effort and is one of the primary funders.
Our fragile coastal and marine ecosystems face increasing threats from human activities, climate change, and other factors. To mitigate and adapt to such threats, we need a fuller, more integrated picture of how the biodiversity within these ecosystems may be changing, especially since marine biodiversity is a key indicator of ocean health and critical to sustaining natural resources such as fisheries.
To address this need, the NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) is contributing funds to a pilot project to monitor U.S. marine ecosystems. As part of the project, three observation networks are being implemented in four diverse locations around the United States. Scientists will study the interactions of the life in these ecosystems – from microbes to whales. Tools used will include on-site human observations, satellites, and DNA sampling.
As climate change continues, scientists are in a race to predict the ways it will affect the natural environment. By understanding climate change, they hope to anticipate issues related to food supply, habitat management, and natural resources.
One area of concern is ocean acidification. The ocean absorbs about 25 percent of all of the carbon dioxide (CO2) released into the atmosphere as a result of our consumption of fossil fuels. The result is that the delicate chemistry of the ocean is being altered—the pH is steadily being lowered, making seawater more acidic.
Revised November 19, 2014 by the NOAA Ocean Explorer Webmaster
Office of Ocean Exploration and Research | National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration |
U.S. Department of Commerce