Sea Technology

JAN 2018

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18 ST | January 2018 www.sea-technology.com science to understand how such disasters happen and how the U.S. can best respond is also important to help prepare for the future. To address the need for quick-response research on unanticipated events, NSF has a Rapid Response Re- search (RAPID) funding mechanism. RAPID grants are used for proposals identifying an immediate and critical need for support with regard to availability of, or access to, data, facilities or specialized equipment, including research on natural or anthropogenic disasters (http://bit. ly/2iYtv92). These proposals are reviewed internally and are turned around, well, "RAPID"-ly, often within a mat- ter of a few weeks. As of October 10, 2017, NSF has awarded approxi- mately 60 new grants totaling $5.3 million in response to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria (http://bit.ly/ 2jZFMGP). For example, NSF is currently supporting RAPID research to evaluate the effectiveness of man- groves and salt marshes for coastal protection; the po- tential response and ability to recover of the Texas barrier islands; and determining the level of threat on human health from liquid mercury that was released into flood- plain sediments of the San Jacinto River in Texas. Sensor Research and Advanced Technology Efforts NSF is collaborating with the National Oceanic Part- nership Program (NOPP) to support ocean sensor re- search and development (http://bit.ly/2zTVf1G). The spe- cific grant program may collectively support up to $18.5 million over five years to investigate CubeSat sensors to study littoral ocean and atmosphere dynamics; improved and routine production, stewardship and application of the Group for High Resolution Sea Surface Temperature (GHRSST) Data; and in-situ ocean sensor research and technology development. OCE's main interest is in the last of these subjects, and we are partnering with fellow agencies Office of Naval Research and NASA in this pro- gram, along with NSF's Office of Polar Programs. Long-Term Ecological Research In 1980, NSF established the Long Term Ecological Research Program (LTER, https://lternet.edu) to address ecological questions that require collaborative partner- ships to conduct observations or experiments over mul- tiple spatial scales. The program aims to understand how diverse components of an ecosystem interact to influence ecosystem function. Each of the 28 LTER sites are orga- nized around a scientific theme specific to its location and ecosystems, including the open ocean, coral reefs, deserts and grasslands. NSF awarded $5.6 million (http://bit.ly/2k0KLqw) to support two LTER coastal sites along the Northeast U.S. Continental Shelf and in the northern Gulf of Alaska. Both sites are home to productive fisheries and abundant resources, in addition to facing significant environmental changes and stressors. Scientists will have the ability to make observations across a larger geographic region, ex- ploring the links among the ocean environment, plank- ton food webs and fish stocks to better predict how the ecosystem will respond to environmental change. Finally, funding pressures demand we more effective- ly communicate the value of ocean observations to peo- ple, communities, businesses and governments. We are at a pivotal time for society. The blue technol- ogy community has an opportunity to rally around the cause of ocean observations and exploration. Society, the planet and the blue economy will be the beneficiaries. ST Review&Forecast Staying Committed to Basic Science: Discovery in a Time of Change and Uncertainty By Jessica F. McGrath Policy Advisor Dr. Richard W. Murray Director Division of Ocean Sciences U.S. National Science Foundation T he National Science Foundation (NSF) stands at the forefront of U.S. re- search and advancement to support basic science and research that seeks to ex- plore, discover and under- stand the unknown. With an annual budget of $7.5 bil- lion (fiscal year 2017), NSF funds approximately 24 per- cent of all federally support- ed basic research conducted by America's colleges and universities as part of its mis- sion to act as a driver of the U.S. economy, enhance the nation's security and pro- mote U.S. global leadership (https://nsf.gov/about). Within the NSF Directorate of Geosciences, the Divi- sion of Ocean Sciences (OCE) supports research, infra- structure, technological innovation and education to ad- vance understanding of all aspects of the global oceans, including the impacts on human health and integrated Earth and climate systems. OCE participates in collabo- rative efforts within the scientific and educational com- munity, on both a domestic and international scale. The division works with numerous U.S. programs to direct funding toward advancing the frontiers of science and technological development. OCE is committed to sup- porting the continued need for ocean research infrastruc- ture, advanced technology and education. 'RAPID Response' to Hurricanes, Major Storm Events As it appears, 2017 is likely to be the most expen- sive hurricane season on record in U.S. history (http:// nyti.ms/2nzMY15). Most of the focus on these events surrounds community impacts and recovery, while the

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