Division of Ocean Sciences - Fall/Winter 2001 Newsletter
NSF 02-055
(Replaces NSF 01-127)

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Biological Oceanography / Chemical Oceanography / Physical Oceanography / Marine Geology and Geophysics / Ocean Drilling Program / Education / Ocean Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination / Oceanographic Instrumentation and Technical Services


Ocean Drilling Program

In August, ODP’s Science Committee set the schedule for ODP’s last year of drilling, scheduled to end September 30, 2003. An exciting and robust scientific drilling program has been developed for the JOIDES Resolution’s final year of operations. The track takes the drilling vessel from the eastern Pacific into the North Atlantic and ends in the Gulf of Mexico where it will be demobilized. As ODP approaches its final stages, planning within the science community and potential funding entities continues at a vigorous pace to ensure that the follow-on program, the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP), is seamlessly in place by October 1, 2003.

The IODP International Working Group (IWG), a group of international funding agency representatives engaged in the formal planning for a post-2003 scientific drilling program, met in Ottawa, Canada this past June. The IWG has been meeting on a regular basis every six months since 1997 and is co-chaired by Dr. Yoichiro Otsuka, Director for the Earth and Oceans Division of Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science, and Technology (MEXT) and by Dr. Margaret Leinen, Assistant Director for Geosciences at the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). MEXT and NSF are defined as the Lead Agencies for IODP and as such will contribute equally to total program cost and will take on additional responsibility as necessary to fully support the program.

The IWG has made significant progress in defining and agreeing to the various elements needed to make the new program a reality. At its last meeting the IWG reached agreement on the Management Principle for IODP. This Principle calls for a Central Management Office (CMO) that will develop and manage the implementation plans for the IODP science program and will have a formal arrangement with IODP Lead Agencies for this activity. In defining the tasks and responsibilities of the CMO, the IWG agreed that these are to be based on the recommendations of IODP’s international Science Advisory Structure (SAS). The IWG attached the following characteristics to the CMO: a) it should be committed to IODP science, b) it should be unbiased, c) it should be independent, and d) it should be a legal entity. The full text of the Management Principle and the definition of the Tasks and Responsibilities of the CMO can be found at IODP’s web site: http://www.iodp.org.

Also significant at the June meeting of the IWG was discussion of a joint European effort to provide IODP with a mission specific platform capability. The proposal envisages Europe participating in IODP as a single entity or consortium. Ideally, Europe would like to participate as a lead agency. The same conditions that apply to the riser and non-riser platforms, as defined by the Platform Principle, would apply to the mission specific platform(s). The European members of IWG were very positive about this approach to European participation in IODP and requested that IWG consider and comment on a set of principles, which they developed, that defines this participation. A response and discussion will occur at the next meeting of the IWG in January 2002 in Kobe, Japan.

An interim Science Advisory Structure (iSAS) for IODP is now in operation and functions in a similar manner as the JOIDES advisory structure for ODP. The Interim Planning Committee (iPC) of iSAS is equivalent to SCICOM in ODP and is Co-Chaired by Dr. Ted Moore, University of Michigan, and Dr. Hajimu (Jim) Kinoshita, JAMSTEC. The iPC had its first meeting in August and has recommended the formation of several interim science advisory panels. iPC will be responsible for shepherding, evaluating and encouraging drilling proposals for the platforms to be supported in the future drilling program. October 1 was the first deadline for submission of IODP drilling proposals and the iSAS support office received eleven new proposals. In addition, fifty-nine proposals were transferred to IODP from ODP. Several have undergone revision. At the moment there are seventy active proposals in the system being considered by iSAS. More information is available at http://www.isas-office.jp/.

This is an opportune time to remind everyone that the NSF/ODP office is encouraging the development of mature drilling proposals for IODP by supporting regional geological and geophysical studies, well in advance of drilling, from U.S. scientists and institutions. In keeping with the thematic emphasis of the IODP Initial Science Plan, the NSF will accept proposals for work in any ocean. However, as the international planning effort begins to focus drilling plans on a particular region, proposals for work in that region will receive special attention.

Paul Dauphin (jdauphin@nsf.gov)
Brad Clement (bclement@nsf.gov)
Vacancy (Program Director) -- see p.18
Vacancy (Associate Program Director) -- see p.18

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