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research support functions of the IDOE and Oceanography Sections were merged into one section (Ocean Sciences Research Section [OSRS]) with eight programs:

  1. Biological Oceanography

  2. Oceanic Biology

  3. Chemical Oceanography

  4. Marine Chemistry

  5. Seafloor Processes

  6. Submarine Geology and Geophysics

  7. Physical Oceanography

  8. Ocean Dynamics

From the outset, there were in reality only four programs, in the four component subdisciplines, and four separate budgets, but for the next two years these eight programs appeared on official listings, creating considerable confusion within the community.

The Office for Oceanographic Facilities and Support was reorganized into the Oceanographic Facilities Support Section with the Oceanographic Technology Program and the Operations Program.

On August 3,1981, the Office of Scientific Ocean Drilling was established within the Office of the NSF Director and the Ocean Drilling Program was moved into it from AAEO.

1982—The Oceanographic Facilities Program was established in OFS on April 12, 1982. The Office of Scientific Ocean Drilling was transferred, intact, from the Office of the Director to AAEO on November 14.

1983—Funds were added to the Oceanographic Technology Program to support a technology development component.

1984—The Ocean Drilling Program was established within OFS, and the section was renamed Oceanographic Centers and Facilities Section (OCFS). A little later, the nominal eight programs of OSRS were formally integrated by discipline, resulting in the Biological, Chemical, and Physical Oceanography Programs and Marine Geology and Geophysics Program.

Since 1984, the structure of the division has remained unchanged up to the time of writing, with the minor exception that the technology development component in OCFS was transferred into OSRS as the Ocean Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination Program. The transfer was made because over the previous decade it had become clear that technology development was mostly in service of research and frequently grants were jointly funded with one of the research programs. Thus, since 1993, there have been five programs in OSRS.

There will be much history eventually written about the development of the U.S. Global Change Research Program from 1984 to the present, and the gradual but very significant increase in budgets within OCE over this period. Only one element of this program, however, has yet been brought to completion (the Tropical Ocean and Global Atmosphere program; see Lambert in this volume), and several are still in their early stages. Some thoughts on the influence of this fourth wave of major ocean programs (after the International Geophysical Year, the International Indian Ocean Expedition, and the International Decade of Ocean Exploration) can be found in the recently published volume Global Ocean Science (NRC, 1999).


Bush, V. 1945. ScienceThe Endless Frontier. A Report to the President on a Program for Postwar Scientific Research. U.S. Office of Scientific Research and Development, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

England, J.M. 1982. A Patron for Pure ScienceThe National Science Foundation's Formative Years, 1945-1957. NSF Report 82-24. National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.

Mazuzan, G.T. 1988. The National Science Foundation: A Brief History . NSF Report 88-16. National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.

National Academy of Sciences (NAS). 1959. Oceanography 1960-1970. National Research Council, Washington, D.C.

National Academy of Sciences (NAS). 1964. Economic Benefits from Oceanographic Research, a Special Report. National Research Council, Washington, D.C.

National Science Foundation (NSF). 1962a. 10-Yea Projection of National Science Foundation Plans to Support Basic Research in Oceanography . Unpublished document.

National Science Foundation (NSF). 1962b. Twelfih Annual Report. National Science Foundation, Washington, D.C.

National Science Foundation (NSF). 1984. Organiza ional Development of the National Science Foundation. NSF Handbook Number 1. Unpublished document.

National Research Council (NRC). 1999. Global Ocean Science: Toward an Integrated Approach. National Academy Press. Washington, D.C.

President's Science Advisory Committee (PSAC). 1966. Effective Use of the Sea. Panel on Oceanography. President's Science Committee, Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C.

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