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Executive Summary In the summer of 1803, Thomas Jefferson sent Meriwether Lewis and William Clark on a journey to establish an American presence in a land of unqualified natural resources and riches. It is fitting that, on the 200th anniversary of that expedition, the United States, together with international partners, should embark on another journey of exploration in a vastly more extensive region of remarkable potential for discovery. Although the oceans cover more than 70 percent of our planet's surface, much of the ocean has been investigated in only a cursory sense, and many areas have not been investigated at all. During this journey, there is little doubt that discoveries wi l l be made: A spectrum of marine natural products will have profound pharma- ceutical potential. Vast new mineral and energy resources will be uncovered. The physical factors responsible for changes in climate will be iden- tified. New ecosystems will alter our view of the origin of life. Artifacts will provide new information about the history of civilization. Surprising new species and organisms will be found. In response to a request from the U.S. Congress to examine the feasibil- ity and value of an ocean exploration program, the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council established the Committee on Exploration of the Seas (Box ES.1), whose findings are reported in this document. In addition to a public meeting, the committee convened an International Global Ocean Exploration Workshop in May 2002 to seek advice from the international community and discuss the possibilities for, and interest in, a global ocean exploration program. 1

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2 EXPLORATION OF THE SEAS This study will assess the feasibility and potential value of implementing a major, coordi- nated, international program of ocean exploration and discovery. The study committee will survey national and international ocean programs and strategies for cooperation between governments, institutions, and ocean scientists and explorers, identifying strengths, weaknesses, and gaps in these activities. Based primarily on existing documents, the committee will summarize priority areas for ocean research and exploration and examine existing plans for advancing ocean exploration and knowledge. These findings will then be used to help characterize the technology, human resources, organizational structures, and funding that would be needed to address the identified priorities in the United States and internationally. Finally, the committee will recommend strategies to facilitate such a program, including information regarding the countries and organizations likely to participate; the institutional arrangements needed (includ- ing the possibility of new treaties or laws); the technology and infrastructure needed (including manned and autonomous underwater vehicles, ships, observing systems, and data management systems); and an estimate of the potential costs. This report provides rationale and support for the following recom- mendations: A new program for ocean exploration is necessary. An international, top-down program is not feasible at the outset. The United States should lead by example and develop a national program with international representation. The United States should operate the program using an indepen- dent (nonfederal) entity. Federal funding for the independent organization should be provided through either the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP), the National Science Foundation (NSF), or the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). WHY ESTABLISH A NEW PROGRAM? Exciting discoveries are made in the ocean sciences every year. From the identification of ecosystems that thrive without sunlight to the new pathways for photosynthesis recently identified in marine microbes, dis- coveries in our oceans continue to revolutionize and refine our theories of

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY the origins of life here and the possibilities for life elsewhere in the universe. However, such discoveries are largely serendipitous. In the United States, ocean sciences rely on relatively few large, carefully managed assets- ships, submersibles, and laboratory facilities. Research funding is relatively more available for projects that will revisit earlier sites and discoveries and for improving current understanding than it is to support truly exploratory oceanography. A new program to provide opportunities for investigating new regions and that draws on research from a variety of disciplines, would speed discovery and application of new information. A coordinated, international ocean exploration effort is not unprec- edented the International Decade of Ocean Exploration (IDOE), 1971-1980, was established by the Marine Sciences Act of 1966 and motivated both by anticipated discoveries of useful and important marine resources and by scientific curiosity. Questions about the health of the world's oceans led scientists to argue for systematic baseline surveys that were not possible from randomly spaced observations. The IDOE program recognized that exploration of the ocean required a sustained global effort with international participation, and justification for the program included issues of clear inter- national interest. More information was necessary to describe the ability of the oceans to provide food for an expanding world population, to protect the United States and other nations from maritime threats to world order, to assuage the deterioration of water quality and waterfronts in coastal cities, to support expanded ocean shipping, and to locate new supplies of seabed oil, gas, and minerals. The objective of IDOE was to "achieve more com- prehensive knowledge of ocean characteristics and their changes and more profound understanding of oceanic processes for the purpose of effective utilization of the ocean and its resources" (National Academy of Sciences, 19691. More specifically, it was expected that the program would help increase the yield from ocean resources, improve predictions of and responses to natural phenomena, and protect or improve the quality of the marine environment. IDOE was a great success it provided observational databases on the physics, geochemistry, paleoceanography, biology, and geophysics of the ocean that fueled hypothesis-driven research for decades. Recommendation: As was true when IDOE was proposed and sup- ported, ocean exploration remains a necessary endeavor to identify and fully describe the resources the oceans contain. The pace at which we discover living and nonliving resources and improve our understanding of how the oceans respond to chemical, biological, and physical changes must increase.

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EXPLORATION OF THE SEAS Every time a scientist happens upon some completely unexpected dis- covery in the ocean, it is a reminder of how little is known about this environment that is so critically important to the sustainability of the planet. We now recognize that different facets of the ocean small-scale geologi- cal, biological, and genetic diversity; chemical, geophysical, and physical oceanographic properties interact in complex ways, and our understand- ing of the ocean requires its examination as a whole system. The oceans play a critical role in the maintenance of the ecosystems of the Earth. Resources contained in the oceans currently supply a substantial portion of the world's food and fuel supply, and maintain global climate patterns. The oceans harbor as yet undiscovered organisms new searches for life con- tinue to discover previously unknown organisms. Only a portion of the potential of the oceans has been tapped. It is difficult to predict what discoveries are still to come, but it is clear that ocean exploration will improve the accuracy of our predictions of global climate change, produce new products that will benefit humanity, inform policy choices, and allow better stewardship of the oceans and the planet as a whole. To reach this potential, ocean research should encour- age cooperation between researchers from varied disciplines. Finding: Currently ocean science funding in the United States is pre- dominantly awarded to research in specific disciplines, such as bio- logical, physical or chemical oceanography. Proposals for interdisci- plinary work are hampered by a funding bureaucracy that is also discipline-based. Ocean exploration is an integrative activity that will encourage and support interdisciplinary efforts that seek to discover new contributions to the marine sciences. The very nature of scientific investigation leads oceanographers to seek out information to verify hypotheses and confirm earlier findings. The infrastructure and support needed for oceanographic work is expensive, limited, and highly scheduled to ensure efficiency in the pursuit of knowl- edge about the oceans. Much of the oceanographic research currently conducted re-investigates previously visited locations, limiting access to new regions and restricting long-term data collection. As a result, vast portions of the oceans have not been systematically examined for geo- chemical or biological characteristics. This is particularly true of the oceans in the southern hemisphere. Ground-breaking discoveries, such as hydro- thermal vents, fueled intensive investigations of those regions, but they did not lead to investigations of new regions. As is being shown by an Australian- New Zealand expedition to seamounts and abyssal plains, systematic

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY biological exploration in even a small portion of the ocean can provide a rich collection of new organisms. The one month journey collected more than 100 previously unidentified fish species and up to 300 new species of invertebrates (National Oceans Office, 20031. A very recent example of such an exploratory effort by the United States has been initiated by the Department of Energy. Although the Sargasso Sea is thought to exhibit limited biodiversity and a simple ecosystem (Holder, 2003), it is anticipated that determining the genomic structures of all organisms within the eco- system may reveal new pathways of carbon sequestration and hydrogen generation (Whitfield, 20031. Recommendation: Oceanographic research should encourage scientifically-rigorous, systematic investigations of new sites in the oceans. Exploration through time should be included in oceanographic research. Oceans provide food, energy and mineral resources, products capable of treating human disease, and affect climate and global responses to changes in climate. A new large-scale program devoted to ocean explora- tion is necessary to: coordinate efforts in ocean discovery and capitalize on the wide array of available data; provide new resources and facilities for access by researchers; estabilsh support for and promote Interdiscipilnary approaches to ocean investigations; . . . . . .. . . . . .. . ~ . . .. . .. develop outreach and publ Ic education tools to i ncrease publ ic awareness and understanding of the oceans; discover the living and nonliving resources of the oceans; and provide a multidisciplinary archive of ocean data to serve as a source of basic data upon which to develop hypotheses for further investi- gation. Recommendation: A coordinated, broadly-based ocean exploration effort that meets the highest standards of scientific excellence should be aggressively pursued. An ocean exploration program should be initiated and contain the following characteristics, or goals, which can also be used to gauge its ultimate success: The program should be global and multidisciplinary. The program must receive international support. 5

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6 EXPLORATION OF THE SEAS The program should consider all three spatial dimensions as well as time. The program should seek to discover new living and nonliving resources in the ocean. The program should include development of new tools, probes, sensors, and systems for multidisciplinary ocean exploration. The program should reach out to improve literacy pertaining to ocean science and management issues for learners of all ages to maximize the impact for research, commercial, regulatory, and educational benefits. The program should standardize sampling, data management, and dissemination. Recommendation: To achieve the recommended goals, early efforts in ocean exploration should be selected using the following criteria: Research is conducted in areas of international interest. Particu- larly salient are themes that are amenable to international coopera- tion and those suggested by International Global Ocean Exploration Workshop participants. Questions advance the current state of knowledge. Characteristics of the habitat, region, or discipline suggest a poten- tial for bold, new discoveries. The results have a potential to benefit humanity. Recommendation: Several promising areas were identified as having broad international interest and are recommended as potential initial exploration themes: marine biodiversity; the Arctic Ocean; the Southern Ocean and Antarctic ice shelves; deep water and its influence on climate change; exploring the ocean through time; and marine archaeology. INTERNATIONAL SUPPORT FOR AN OCEAN EXPLORATION PROGRAM The involvement of many nations in ocean exploration efforts would expand an ocean exploration program's usefulness by broadening the base of human, mechanical, and financial resources available. In fact, inter-

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY . ~ . . . . . national collaboration is necessary to support a truly global ocean explora- tion program. And the interests of individual nations must be served to promote such participation something not readily achievable by a large- scale, internationally coordinated effort. The informal consensus of the workshop attendees was that a one-program-serves-all effort would be nei- ther effective nor efficient. An international program could be best served by developing individual national ocean exploration programs to suit the needs of the countries involved. National priorities would be set and then partners soughs forindividual programs. Such bilateral and multilateral agreements have worked extremely well for ocean science programs such as the Ocean Drilling Program (ODP) and should serve well for ocean exploration. Although many nations would likely be interested in participating in limited ocean exploration programs, relatively few have the resources nec- essary to provide significant financial support to a program. A U.S. national model should offer the example for other nations, and it should work to incorporate people from other nations to generate interest more broadly. The development of similar national Programs elsewhere should be encour- aged and anticipated. 1 tJ By developing distinct exploration programs for international cooperation to seek discoveries of specific resources or inves- tigate regional features, the burden of international policy and agreements could be greatly reduced. Recommendation: Given the considerations presented, it is prudent to begin an exploration effort with a model for a U.S. national program that will encourage collaboration and capacity building and that would be likely to lead to the development of similar programs in other countries. Once other national programs are established, consortia of nations can voluntarily collaborate on program plans and pool resources using multilateral international agreements to undertake regional exploration or to pursue themes of shared interest. DOMESTIC SUPPORT FOR OCEAN EXPLORATION There has been continued support for and success from oceanographic research in the United States, and a large-scale international exploration program could rapidly accelerate our acquisition of knowledge of the world's oceans. The current ocean-research-funding framework does not favor such exploratory proposals. Additional funding for exploration with- out a new framework for management and investment is unlikely to result in 7

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8 EXPLORATION OF THE SEAS establishment of a successful exploration program. A new program, how- ever, could provide the resources and establish the selection processes needed to develop ocean exploration theme areas and pursue new research in biodiversity, processes, and resources within the world's oceans. The current effort of the Office of Ocean Exploration at NOAA should not be expected to fi 11 th is role. After weighing the issues involved in oversight and funding, perhaps the most appropriate placement for an ocean exploration program is under the auspices of the interagency NOPP, provided that the problems with routing funds to NOPP-sponsored projects is solved. This solution has the best chance of leading to major involvement by NOAA, NSF, and other appro- priate organizations such as the Office of Naval Research. The committee is not prepared to support an ocean exploration program within NOAA unless major shortcomings of NOAA as a lead agency can be effectively and demonstrably overcome. A majority of the committee members felt that the structural problems limiting the effectiveness of NOAA's current ocean exploration program are insurmountable. A minority of the committee members felt that the problems could be corrected. If there is no change to the status quo for NOPP or NOAA, the committee recommends that NSF be encouraged to take on an ocean exploration program. Although a program within NSF would face the same difficulties of the existing NOAA program in attracting other federal (and nonfederal) partners, NSF has proven success- fu I at managi ng i nternational research programs as wel I as a h igh Iy-regarded ocean exploration program that remained true to its founding vision. Finding: After exhaustive deliberation, the committee found that an ocean exploration program could be sponsored through NOPP, or through one of the two major supporters of civilian ocean research in the nation: NOAA or NSF. Recommendation: NOPP is the most appropriate placement for an ocean exploration program, provided the program is revised to accept direct appropriations of federal funds. If those funding issues are not resolved, NOAA (with consideration to the comments above) or NSF would be appropriate alternatives. MANAGEMENT OF A DOMESTIC EXPLORATION PROGRAM In recent years, agencies have increasingly turned to nongovernmental groups to take on the day-to-day operations of large programs. The advan-

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY sages of this approach are several. First, the process of competitive bidding for the management of the program leads to creativity in program design, cost savings, and incentives for excellent performance. Second, as pro- grams build up and close down, there is no need to accommodate the personnel requirements through agency headcount. NSF chose the inde- pendent contractor route i n select) ng Joi nt Oceanograph ic I nstitutions to operate ODP, and has recently proposed a similar plan for management of the Ocean Observing Initiative and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (in this case the associated not-for-profit is an international corporation). Likewise, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration will be select- ing an independent contractor to manage the International Space Station. The advantages of an external contractor are potentially even greater for an ocean exploration program. For example, if NOPP were to lead the effort, management by an independent contractor would provide a neutral third party to balance the interests of the various agency partners and accept contributions from a variety of public and private sources. If NOAA were to lead the program, management by an external group could mitigate some of the perceived inadequacies in the present, internal-NOAA program. For example, the program would be an "arm's length" away from the pressures of the agency mission and subjected to regular external review. Depending on the choice of the external managing organization, grant processing, priority-setting, connection to the external community, and transparency of decision making could be improved. If NSF were asked to lead the pro- gram, the agency would almost surely choose this route rather than build internally the infrastructure to manage the exploration-specific assets and data system. Management of large-scale ocean research programs can be effective and efficient through the use of independent contractors. Nonfederal opera- tors can receive support from multiple government agencies and receive financial support from private sponsors. Independent audits of program performance can be used to ensure the program is achieving the desired outcomes. Recommendation: A nonfederal contractor should be used to operate the proposed U.S. ocean exploration program. The original contract should be awarded following a competitive bidding process. The program should be reviewed periodically and should seek to leverage federal resources for additional private contributions. 9

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10 EXPLORATION OF THE SEAS TECHNOLOGY AND INFRASTRUCTURE NEEDS Rapid progress in ocean sampling devices now allows researchers access to new environments, including the extremes of hydrothermal sys- tems and waters beneath the ice of the Arctic Ocean. The potential of new technology in satellites, underwater equipment, remote sensing technology, and observing systems has not yet been met. An ocean exploration program could access these new technologies to speed our discoveries of ocean resources and characteristics, while providing support for development of additional new tools necessary for interdisciplinary research. Dramatic advances in our ability to explore the deep sea are attribut- able to research and development done by academic and private organiza- tions. High-quality, long-term, multinational research programs have greatly increased our understanding of the processes that govern our planet. The Joint Global Ocean Flux Study, ODP, and the Global Ocean Observing System use tools, technology, and human resources developed and pro- vided by a variety of nations. A new exploration effort should use existing equipment and technology whenever possible, but it will also require new methods and systems to adjust and improve in order to meet emerging needs. Additional resources for the development of innovative tools to support selected exploration voyages or investigations should greatly increase the capabilities, and discoveries, of oceanographic research. A global ocean exploration system could access observations from existing satellites, moored open-ocean sensors, data voluntarily contributed from various ships, and the global sea level network, as well as other observations that are not yet defined or routinely collected. The science and technology results from several continuing large-scale research programs the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere program, the Ridge Interdisciplinary Global Experiment, and the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study provide important information and experience that can be applied when designing an operational ocean exploration system that is effective, affordable, and consistent with our knowledge of the scales of ocean biology, chemistry, and physics (National Research Council, 19931. Recommendation: An ocean exploration program should seek to access and encourage new developments in ocean technology. The plans to acquire new equipment or use existing facilities should be tailored to meet the plans of the scientific program. Any new exploration program should seek to expedite the development and use of new tech- nology for novel, multidisciplinary observations in new environments. In

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY particular, the development of probes and sensors for in situ sampling and molecular analysis is a priority for biological sampling and for the identifi- cation of organisms and processes. A global ocean exploration program will no doubt stimulate such new technologies, and resources should be available to support it in selected exploration voyages or investigations. Finding: Access to standard and new technology, including commer- cially available equipment and technology that is not used for and by research institutions, is necessary for an ocean exploration program to succeed. Access to commercially available assets, such as human occupied vehicles, remotely operated vehicles, and autonomous under- water vehicles, would increase flexibility and allow researchers more access to new environments, and thus promote the development of even more new technology. Recommendation: The exploration program should seek to expedite the development and use of the new technology in new undersea environments. The list of equipment for an ocean exploration pro- gram should be tailored to meet the scientific program's plans. In the past, the lack of standardized data collection efforts hampered long-term utility of very large data sets (e.g., IDOE). Standardization of data collection and reporting will allow the integration of information from a variety of projects. The long-term success of the program will depend on whether it can provide archives for access long after original exploration efforts end. Recommendation: Data collection and reporting must be standardized to allow data sets from a variety of explorations to be integrated. The sampling techniques and reporting formats should be designed to be acceptable to the worldwide oceanographic community. Data access and management policies are critical to the success of any large-scale research program. Despite the efforts of federal agencies and other parties, data sharing remains problematic across the ocean sciences. The success of an ocean exploration program could be greatly enhanced by allowing data to be shared soon after collection. Real-time data access is also a possibility that should be considered in the early stages of the pro- gram. An ocean exploration program, in particular, could benefit from access) ng arch Ives of both oceanograph ic and archaeological data to m i ne those data for new information and large-scale patterns. 1 1

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12 EXPLORATION OF THE SEAS Recommendation: Data access and management policies must be established before exploration begins. In particular, any exploration program should encourage oceanographers to improve their capacity to access and integrate data from many ocean sciences, extract new information from those data sets, and convey new insights to decision makers and the public. The proposed ocean exploration program should seek ways to contribute to or link exploration data to existing oceanographic and archaeological data archives. Often only preliminary investigations can be conducted while oceano- graphic cruises are under way. Additional materials and equipment for sample processing on land must be accessed in order to uncover critical information. Discoveries by an ocean exploration program are very likely to occur as a result of additional, postcruise sample processing. Recommendation: Support of postcruise science should be a major component of a global ocean exploration program. Researchers should be supported for activities that will enhance their shipboard work, such as sample analysis and data interpretation and presentation. Without direct support, many discoveries might not come to fruition. EDUCATION AND OUTREACH IN AN EXPLORATION PROGRAM The way an ocean exploration program is organized both nationally and internationally can make a difference in the effectiveness of public outreach and education efforts. By fostering collaborations among scien- tists and educators, an exploration program can ensure that educators are an integral part of the planning and conduct of the exploration activity, whether at sea or on land. To be successful educators must learn the science necessary to effectively use the curricula, and scientists must under- stand teachers' needs. Those collaborations cannot be an afterthought; they must be fully integrated throughout the process of ocean exploration. Informing government officials about program plans and accomplishments is critical to any large, federally funded program, and itwill be importantfor all countries involved. This will require additional activities beyond those designed to reach the general public. Recommendation: Strong education and outreach programs with glo- bal applications should be incorporated into any exploration program to bring new discoveries to the public, enfranchise the global commu- nity in ocean exploration, and develop and foster collaborations among scientists and educators in ocean exploration.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Ocean exploration provides rich content that easily captures the imagi- nation of people of all ages. Any ocean exploration effort should seek to: bring new discoveries to the public in ways that infuse exploration into their daily lives and capture the inherent human interest in the ocean; enfranchise the global community in ocean exploration; and develop and foster collaborations among scientists and educators in ocean exploration. Strong education and outreach programs with global appl ications should be i ncorporated i nto the exploration program. Capacity bui Idi ng- not only to multiply the program's usefulness, but also to develop and conduct international ocean exploration must be integral to national and international ocean exploration programs. Successful cooperation between educators and scientists relies on edu- cators learning the science necessary to effectively use the curricula, and on scientists understanding teachers' needs. Educator-scientist partnerships could be accomplished through professional organizations (examples in the United States include the National Science Teachers Association, the National Marine Educators Association, and the American Geophysical Union) or through other model programs, such as the Centers for Ocean Science Education Excellence created through NSF, and the Bridge program (Virginia Institute of Marine Science, 2003) of NOPP. Professional develop- ment opportunities that immerse teachers in the world of scientific investi- gation can support the development of inquiry-based, standards-based edu- cational materials and products. Educators and students, where appropriate, and science writers, artists, journalists, and others could participate in expe- ditions or shore-based activities, and postproject lesson plans could be developed by scientists and educators from the data collected. Finding: In a large scale, international ocean exploration program, capacity building can serve to enlist additional countries in the efforts, increase the resources (e.g., trained personnel) available for future work, and aid partner nations in good stewardship of our shared oceans. Recommendation: National exploration programs should strengthen participation in international exploration through exchange programs for scientists and educators from different countries and through train- ing programs for educators who are preparing to set up exploration- 13

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14 EXPLORATION OF THE SEAS based programs in their own countries. All materials and resources developed or collected through the ocean exploration program should be archived to document the history of collaborations among scien- tists and educators involved in ocean exploration. FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR AN EXPLORATION PROGRAM Access and flexibility are necessary to implement an ocean exploration program. Although assets for oceanographic research exist, a new ocean exploration program that seeks to enhance the current efforts, as proposed in this report, will require substantial assets. New oceanographic assets would increase the effectiveness of the program, while minimizing interfer- ence with the current research endeavors. Although the specific assets needed should be tailored to the exploration plans, approximations have been generated using previous programs and existing equipment. Recommendation: To undertake a truly large-scale, ocean exploration program that would incorporate the disciplines discussed in this report, a specialized, dedicated flagship, and a modest fleet of underwater vehicles should be provided. Such a program would require first-year funding of approximately ~i270 million. Thereafter, annual operating costs would be about ~i110 million. A more moderate program, oper- ating fewer assets, could be operated for approximately 570 million annually. The scope of the proposed exploration program for the oceans will depend on annual funding. An important new ocean exploration program can be undertaken at various levels, and estimates of the return on that investment should be made accordingly. If funds are limited, the theme areas the program seeks to address should be scaled back; apportionment of program initiatives should prevent sacrifices of postcruise data analysis and data bank maintenance and support. In any such initiative, the input of the research community should be sought to assist in identifying necessary trade-offs. The proposed exploration office should be responsible for imple- menting program activities and operations congressional earmarking can obstruct program i ntegrity and success. With broad, i nterd isci pi i nary involvement, open forums for discussion of program goals and choices, and accountable management of the program, a large-scale, international ocean exploration initiative is likely to succeed in providing economic, scientific, and environmental benefits for al 1.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Recommendation: Especially at the lower levels of funding presented in this report, the efficient, effective use of resources must be ensured and should involve the following: decision-making should be informed by the research community, program managers and administrators, and legislators; and a clear statement of program goals must be used to drive the choices of capitalization. SUMMARY A large-scale ocean exploration program should be initiated. An extra- ordinary leap in our understanding of the functioning of the oceans and their role in global climate and life support systems is likely. International partners should be sought to share in the costs and benefits of the program. The ocean is a critical component of the planet's biodiversity and a crucial vehicle for developing new understanding of biological, geological, chemical, and physical processes, both here on Earth and throughout the cosmos. However, public awareness of the oceans' significance to the planet is extremely limited. "tThe American public possesses] only super- ficial knowledge of the oceans, their functions, and their connection to human well being," according to a survey by the Ocean Project, a consor- tium of aquariums; zoos; and science, technology, and natural history museums (Belden et al., 19991. Although more than 1,500 people have successfully climbed Mount Everest, more than 300 men and women have journeyed into space, and 12 men have walked on the moon, only 2 people have descended and returned in a single dive to the deepest parts of the ocean, and they spent less than 30 minutes in the cloud of sediment on the ocean bottom. Those numbers are indicative of humanity's instincts to chart the unknown. Every year, new technologies become available to help us probe our oceans In new ways. At the same time, our living marine resources are in danger from harm by overuse, the climate of our planet is changing, and the need for cures for human suffering is as great as ever. A global ocean exploration program that encompasses all of those facets opening new areas of inquiry and solving problems is feasible and justifiable and should be vigorously pursued. . 15