resources. Fiscal support in the United States has not kept up with scientific progress, whereas other countries have increased their capacities to conduct oceanographic research. To respond to these challenges, federal agencies and the academic oceanography community need to establish productive new partnerships. Key elements in such partnerships are encouraging individual scientists to take intellectual risks in advancing basic knowledge, providing support that is tied to solving present problems, and encouraging scientists to cooperate in the development of large shared research endeavors. These new partnerships will be the basis of a national oceanographic effort that balances the necessity for a robust program in basic research against the need for research directed at important societal problems.
This report has three major objectives. The first is to document and discuss important trends in the human, physical, and fiscal resources available to oceanographers, especially academic oceanographers, over the last decade. The second goal is to present the Ocean Studies Board's best assessment of the scientific opportunities in physical oceanography, marine geochemistry, marine geology and geophysics, biological oceanography, and coastal oceanography during the upcoming decade. The third and principal objective is to provide a blueprint for more productive partnerships between academic oceanographers and federal agencies. The board attempts to do this by developing a set of general principles that should provide the basis for building improved partnerships and by discussing critical aspects of the specific partnerships for each federal agency with a significant marine program.
The ocean dominates Earth's surface and greatly affects daily life. It regulates Earth's climate, plays a critical role in the hydrological cycle, sustains a large portion of Earth's biodiversity, supplies food and mineral resources, constitutes an important medium of national defense, provides an inexpensive means of transportation, is the final destination of many waste products, is a major location of human recreation, and inspires our aesthetic nature.
Today's sense of urgency about ocean studies is precipitated by human impacts on oceanic systems and the need for a better understanding of the ocean's role in controlling global chemical, hydrological, and climate processes. The nation is faced with pressing marine research problems whose timely solution will require increased cooperation between federal agencies and academic