Management - Role of Funding Agencies

Three agencies of the U.S. Government have been cooperatively planning global ocean ecosystems dynamics research since 1987, the National Science Foundation (NSF), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the Office of Naval Research (ONR). All three were underwriters of the pivotal GLOBEC science workshop at Wintergreen in 1988. This cooperation continues to date in both planning and research support.

All three agencies (NSF, NOAA, and ONR) are active participants in the U.S. Global Change Research Program (US-GCRP), and more specifically in its ecosystems dynamics research theme. As part of the US-GCRP, representatives from each agency sit on the Committee on Earth and Environmental Sciences (CEES) Interagency Task Group on Ecosystems Dynamics. This body is responsible for planning and coordinating ecosystems dynamics research (including GLOBEC) and funding in the US-GCRP, coordinating development with other relevant task groups (e.g., climate and biogeochemical dynamics), and advising CEES on the developing Program.

The current cooperating offices within each agency are the Ocean Science Divisions at NSF and ONR, Polar Programs at NSF, and the National Marine Fisheries Service and the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research at NOAA. Anticipated are joint interagency announcements of opportunity for research support, academic and agency, in global ocean ecosystems dynamics, as well as interagency cooperation on the provision of needed resources and facilities.

NOAA and NSF formalized cooperation on global ocean ecosystems dynamics research in 1988 in a document signed by the NSF Assistant Director for Geosciences and NOAA's Assistant Administrators for both Fisheries and Oceanic and Atmospheric Research. A joint committee has the primary purpose of developing, with agency staff, academic researchers, and agency scientists, plans for research on large-scale studies of marine animal populations and ecosystems dynamics. Other agency participation on the committee has been invited. Under this agreement, NSF and NOAA are presently coordinating plans for U.S. participation in international GLOBEC research in the North Atlantic as described previously in this document. Initial planning for the Southern Ocean is also underway.

ONR and NSF cooperation in ocean ecosystems science is continuing within the context of GLOBEC through the joint support of new technology development. The first efforts are to develop a new long-term, moored array, and physical/bioacoustic sampling systems for assessment of ocean plankton populations and their interactions with ocean physical processes. ONR and NSF are also sponsoring in early 1991 the initial planning for an international research program on ecosystems dynamics in the Indian Ocean associated with the strong monsoon system.

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