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

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Ocean Technology and
Interdisciplinary Coordination

This is my first contribution to the Ocean Sciences newsletter as Program Director for Ocean Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination (OTIC). It will be a big challenge to live up to the high standards and vision established for the OTIC program by Larry Clark. As Larry summarized in the previous newsletter, it is an exciting time for ocean science and with this will come an enhanced need for innovative instrumentation to advance research activities. In light of this, my plans are to continue with the current priority of OTIC to support the development of new tools to enhance ocean science research. In particular, I would greatly encourage submission of proposals for innovative biological and chemical sensors for the collection of long-term datasets.

Technology Development

Planning for the Ocean Observatories Initiative is continuing with preparation for potential projects currently underway. Some of these planning efforts were presented at the recent MTS meeting in Honolulu, Hawaii. Among the issues raised during these presentations was the need for continued development of low power sensors and systems as well as improved data telemetry rates. An example of these planning efforts is the Neptune feasibility plan, which is available on the Neptune website (http://www.neptune. washington.edu/).

In other observatory news, the Ocean.US webpage is now on-line (http://www.ocean.us.net). Ocean.US was created by the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) in late 2000 to coordinate the integration of long-term observing systems for research and operations.

Coastal Ocean Processes (CoOP) program

Currently, CoOP has two active initiatives: 1) the Great Lakes Episodic Processes initiative, in which EEGLE and KITES are entering the final year of project funding and are continuing the synthesis, modeling and publication of their field results; and 2) the Wind-Driven Transport Processes initiative, in which WEST and COAST will both be starting their third year of funding and continuing the collection and analysis of field data. Web links for more information on these programs can be found on the CoOP website (http://www.skio.peachnet.edu/coop/).

An Announcement of Opportunity (AO) for proposals related to buoyancy-driven transport processes will soon be released. This AO developed from an open community workshop that defined the research needed to better understand processes controlling buoyancy-driven systems influenced by freshwater flows. The workshop results and Science Plan were published as “ Coastal Ocean Processes: Transport and Transformation Processes over Continental Shelves with Substantial Freshwater Inflows” (CoOP Report No. 7). The Executive Summary and Science Plan resulting from this workshop are available on the CoOP website. This AO is driven by the importance of buoyancy-driven transport in controlling the cross-shelf transfer, transformation, and fate of biological, geological and chemical materials on continental margins. Appropriate study locations should have buoyancy-influenced flow as a major component of coastal transport. Flow-induced dissolved and particulate constituent loads should be large enough to allow detection and quantification. Furthermore, buoyant input should be sufficiently large so as to influence the structure and/or productivity of biological communities that are affected by freshwater inflow.

In other news, CoOP will host an evening meeting at the AGU/ASLO Ocean Sciences meeting in Honolulu (February 2002). This meeting will serve to address community questions about the Announcement of Opportunity and facilitate the development of collaborations for interdisciplinary proposals.

Alexandra Isern (aisern@nsf.gov)

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