The important, collaborative research at the proposed CI described in this prospectus will be conducted closely with scientists at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC), Northwest Fisheries Science Center (NWFSC), Office of National Marine Sanctuaries
(ONMS) and other NOAA offices to support NOAA’s strategic goals and missions in the areas of marine resource management, maintaining sustainable and resilient communities in coastal regions, fisheries assessments, sea floor process and marine acoustic research and mission support for these and other areas of marine research, with a focus on the US West Coast.
In some projects, the CI may collaborate with other CIs and NOAA-funded programs supporting work along the West Coast, such as activities at Sea Grant Colleges, when it is important to consider research across the entire California Current Large Marine Ecosystems (LME).
Such collaborations will include discussions with the relevant NOAA offices that are supporting specific research projects to ensure that such an arrangement would be advantageous to the research topic.
In broad strokes, the CI will help us observe, characterize, and predict marine ecosystem, oceanographic and climatic conditions as well as to provide information to better manage these systems.
A primary focus of this CI is marine ecosystem research, conservation, and management, in support of the sustainable use and stewardship of ocean and coastal resources.
To this end, the CI will provide capabilities and collaborations to develop and apply new tools and approaches for monitoring ecosystem health and forecasting ecosystem change and human responses to change.
This will include, but is not limited to research focused on:
improved assessments and evaluation of fisheries management strategies and actions; evaluating the impact of human activities on marine habitats and ecosystems, including characterization of those habitats and ecosystems; aquaculture techniques, impacts and safety; and social science investigations relevant for the sustainability of coastal and marine communities, both natural and human.
It also includes the capacity to investigate hydrothermal vent systems, their associated micro- and macro-fauna, and their impacts and contributions to marine nutrient cycling, and physical and chemical characteristics.
A full range of tools, from genetic and genomic techniques to acoustics and autonomous vehicles should be used in investigating these areas.
In support of NOAA’s vision of reducing societal impacts from severe weather and other environmental phenomena, the CI will contribute to a variety of research areas.
Specific research areas encompass evaluating the impacts of marine heat waves, hypoxia, and ocean acidification on LMRs, as well as the conditions leading to those severe events and understanding seafloor processes that affect phenomena such as marine earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis.
This CI will contribute to NOAA’s robust and effective research, development, and transition enterprise in several areas.
In the area of mission support, these include providing engineering and data science development and applications and enhancing the fleet of vessels -- both crewed and autonomous -- available for NOAA research.
Perhaps most importantly, this CI will provide access to scholars and researchers in a wide range of areas of inquiry, including traditional humanities fields as well as the sciences.
These scholars will support the integrated research that NOAA hopes to pursue in the future, including but not limited to hydrodynamic modeling, seafloor processes, and ocean and coastal dynamics.
The research activities described herein have been carefully defined to complement, rather than duplicate, research at other CIs, except in cases where there are advantages for such overlap.
The CI may consist of one or more (e.g., a consortium) academic or non-profit, degree-granting institutions that possess an outstanding research program in one or more areas related to NOAA’s mission.
The CI is strongly encouraged to work in conjunction with a range of supporting research affiliates, including, but not limited to other governmental agencies; private industry; non-traditional partners; and NOAA laboratories, and science and data centers; other CIs and Cooperative Science Centers (CSCs); and Sea Grant Colleges.