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50 Years of Ocean Discovery: National Science Foundation 1950—2000
able recognition that there were some serious environmental quality problems in the coastal zone. Several of these problems were associated with chemicals of environmental concern, including trace metals, pesticides, petroleum hydrocarbons, and excessive nutrient inputs (Ketchum, 1972). This spawned many environmental quality research efforts in the coastal zone. The origin of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA' s) Mussel Watch Program, a prototype monitoring program during 1976-1980 for chemicals of environmental concern in coastal areas (Goldberg, 1975b; Goldberg et al., 1978; Farrington et al., 1983), can be traced directly from the experience in the IDOE Baseline Program and individual investigator research efforts funded by a mix of NSF, ONR, and the Atomic Energy Commission. The current operational National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Status and Trends Monitoring Program grew out of the U.S. EPA Mussel Watch Program prototype.
The IDOE-NSF follow-on programs to the Baseline Surveys took two pathways: one mainly biogeochemical and one mainly biological effects. In the first pathway, research on marine pollutant transfer was pursued between 1972 and 1976 and is summarized in the workshop book edited by Windom and Duce (1976). The part of this effort concerned with atmospheric inputs to the oceans eventually evolved under the leadership of Robert Duce, among others, to the SEAREX (Sea-Air Exchange) Program of the 1980s (Duce, 1989) and then to other follow-on programs assessing the atmospheric transport of chemicals to the ocean.
In the second pathway, mesocosms were used in CEPEX (Controlled Pollution Experiment) studies undertaken with large plastic enclosures hung in the sea. Within a few years, CEPEX—and mesocosm experiments at Loch Ewe in Scotland—influenced the development of the MERL (Marine Ecosystems Research Laboratory) mesocosms at the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, funded by U.S. EPA (Grice and Reeve, 1982). In addition, the effect of pollutants at the organism and tissue levels was pursued in the NSF-funded PRIMA (Pollutant Responses in Marine Animals) program (Jennings and King, 1980).
The Uranium Decay Series and Chemical Oceanography-Marine Geochemistry
A considerable number of scientists in numerous studies since the late 1960s, have utilized the uranium decay series radionuclides (Figure 2) to unravel, quantitatively, processes at the boundaries of the oceans and internal processes in the oceans. So many scientists have used this (e.g., see Broecker and Peng, 1982, and Pilson, 1998 for discussion and references), and the knowledge gained has been so important, that it is important to highlight this as an achievement.
Hydrothermal Vents, Riverine Inputs, Atmospheric Inputs and the Inner Workings—Exchanges with the Atmosphere and Deposition to Sediments
There has been amazing progress in understanding the biogeochemical cycles in the oceans since 1970. I have borrowed a cartoon from Professor Conrad Neumann of the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill that captures many of the important aspects of biogeochemical cycles of the oceans (Figure 3). A reviewer drew my attention to the fact that my favorite part of biogeochemical cycles—organic matter (dissolved and particulate)—is missing. Nevertheless, the cartoon captures much of what needs to be qualitatively depicted.
The most exciting discovery of the 1970s in oceanography, by almost all accounts, was the discovery of the vents of hot fluids at the ridge crest valleys of the mid-ocean ridge system and the unexpected associated fauna founded in a chemosynthetic food web (Ballard, 1977; Corliss et al., 1979; Edmond, 1982). This has been described in Dick Barber's paper on biological oceanography immediately preceding this paper and in Bob Ballard's paper later in this volume. As pointed out by Corliss et al. (1979) and Edmond (1982) among several others, the vents not only were important from a biological perspective, but provided documentation of what had been suspected from analyses of altered basalt dredged from the ridge crests or obtained by submersible, that the interaction of seawater with hot and warm basalt at the ridge crests had an important influence on overall seawater chemical composition and in balancing global biogeochemical cycles on geologic time scales.
At the other end of the inputs pipeline, the flow of dissolved and particulate material into the oceans via rivers received increased and significant attention from the 1970s through the present (e.g., Martin et al., 1981; Milliman and Meade, 1983). A continuing vexing challenge was to understand the effect of increased salinity on the chemical composition of estuarine water as materials flowed from the fresh river water into the more saline estuaries. Sholkovitz and coworkers carded out a series of elegant experiments titrating river water with seawater and observing the effects on the chemistry and physical chemical forms in the resulting solutions (e.g., Sholkovitz, 1976).
William J. Jenkins began studies in W.B. Clarke's laboratory to measure helium-3:helium-4 ratios and also apply this to measuring tritium (Jenkins et al., 1972; Clarke et al., 1976). Bill Jenkins continues to make major important contributions to oceanography. As the citation for the 1997 Bigelow Medal awarded to Bill Jenkins states:
The key to Bill Jenkin's success is that he is one of those rare people who can make superb measurements and can also place the data into sound, quantitative models, allowing him to contribute to diverse fields in a unique way. Few scientists have had as much impact and achieved "recognition among so many different scientific communities.