This document has been archived. For current NSF funding opportunities, see
Division of Ocean Sciences
The Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE)
supports basic research and education to further understanding of all aspects
of the global oceans and their interactions with the Earth and the atmosphere.
OCE also supports the operation, acquisition, construction, and conversion
of major shared-use oceanographic facilities needed to carry out oceanographic-related
At any given time, certain research areas within the OCE Division may
be selected for emphasis on the basis of special scientific opportunities.
Further information on global change research programs and other focused
programs is available via the appropriate links on the OCE Division home
• Ocean Section
In addition to these regular programs, there are occasional announcements
of opportunity to participate in global change research programs and other
1. Biological Oceanography
Supports research on ocean productivity;
the distribution, abundance, physiology, and life history of pelagic, coastal,
and deep-sea marine organisms and their interactions with environments;
structures of pelagic and benthic food chains; primary and secondary production;
interactions between deep-sea biological processes and the ocean ecosystem;
the specialization of deep-sea organisms; the ecology of the Great Lakes
and factors regulating productivity; and marine biotechnology.
2. Chemical Oceanography
Supports research on physical and chemical
properties of seawater, including kinetic and thermodynamic equilibria
of chemical species and compounds in seawater; fluxes between sea floor
their interstitial waters and overlying seawater; fates of materials deposited
on the sea floor; alterations and interactions of material moving through
the ocean; interactions and interdependencies between chemical processes
and marine organisms; air/sea exchanges of manmade and naturally mobilized
chemicals; and chemical properties of the ocean surface.
3. Physical Oceanography
Supports research on the description, analysis,
and modeling of oceanic circulation and transport; the effects of circulation
on energy and momentum transport; physical circulation processes, eddy
generation, and turbulent mixing on continental shelves; mixing processes
in estuaries; wind-generated tides and surface and internal waves; small-scale
transport processes such as diffusion, conduction, convection, and three-dimensional
turbulence; and physical properties of seawater and circulation and mixing
processes in lakes.
• Marine Geosciences Section
1. Marine Geology and Geophysics
Supports research on the structure
of continental margins, oceanic rise systems, and deep-sea sedimentary
basins; the evolution of ocean basins; processes controlling exchanges of
chemical elements between seawater and oceanic rocks; tectonic and volcanic
activity at midocean ridges; chemical and mineralogic variations in marine
sediments; the deposition, erosion, and distribution of marine sediments;
geologic and oceanographic processes controlling sedimentary systems; past
oceanic circulation patterns and climates; the evolution of microfossil
groups; paleoenvironmental controls on fossil groups and sediment types;
and interactions of continental and oceanic geologic processes.
2. Ocean Drilling Program (ODP)
Explores, on a global scale, the
Earth's crust beneath the ocean in order to learn more about the composition,
structure, and history of the submerged portion of the Earth's surface.
The drilling process involves collecting and logging geologic samples from
the floor of deep ocean basins through rotary coring and hydraulic piston
coring. The logs and samples of the cores are available to qualified scientists
throughout the world for research projects.
- ODP Operations—The drilling
program has taken samples at various sites, including the North Atlantic
Ocean, Norwegian Sea, Mediterranean
Sea, southern and equatorial Atlantic Ocean, Pacific Ocean off the west
coast of South America, Weddell Sea off Antarctica, Indian Ocean, and
western and equatorial Pacific Ocean.
The general contractor for the overall
management and operation of the ODP is Joint Oceanographic Institutions,
Inc. (JOI), a consortium of major
U.S. oceanographic institutions. The drilling operations are managed by
Texas A&M University; logging is managed by the Lamont-Doherty Earth
Observatory at Columbia University.
- U.S. Science Support—NSF provides
funding for the participation and drilling-related research performed by
U.S. scientists. Activities include
investigations of potential drilling regions, especially by means of regional
geophysical field studies; the feasibility and initial development of downhole
instruments and techniques; and downhole geophysical and geochemical experiments.
In addition, NSF will consider proposals for studies that lead to a long-range
definition of future drilling objectives. To be considered for support,
proposed projects should be clearly relevant to the drilling plans of the
international drilling community and focus on predrilling or drilling-concurrent
activities. Postcruise studies should generally be submitted through other
appropriate NSF programs in the areas of ocean and earth sciences and polar
Additional support for U.S. scientists may be obtained through
the JOI-U.S. Science Advisory Committee (JOI-USSAC). This NSF-sponsored
of planning activities such as workshops to define concepts and develop
problem-related drilling programs, including U.S. participation in Joint
Oceanographic Institutions for Deep Earth Sampling (JOIDES); support for
U.S. scientists participating on the drill ship; and support for necessary
follow up studies related to initial publication of drilling results. Requests
for proposals may be issued for other surveys, regional and topical syntheses
of existing data, or the development of down-hole tools and instrumentation
as these tasks are identified.
Other Pertinent Information
Proposals for drilling specific sites should be submitted to the JOIDES
Planning Committee Chairman, c/o Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc.,
1755 Massachusetts Avenue, NW., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036; or contact
by telephone, 202-232-3900.
Applications for scientific participation aboard a ship should be submitted
to the Manager of Science Operations, Ocean Drilling Program, Texas A&M
University, College Station, TX 77843-3469. Appropriate support may be provided
Submit requests for data and samples of core material to the Curator,
Ocean Drilling Program, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-3469;
or visit the ODP home page, http://www-odp.tamu.edu/curation.
For information on logs and the logging program, write to the Borehole
Research Group, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, NY 10964; or
visit the group’s home page, http://www.oceandrilling.org.
Proposals for planning activities and workshops may be submitted to the
JOI-USSAC Chairman, c/o Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc., 1755 Massachusetts
Avenue, NW., Suite 800, Washington, DC 20036.
• Integrative Programs Section
and Interdisciplinary Coordination
Ocean Education Program
- Ship Operations
- Oceanographic Instrumentation
- Oceanographic Technical Services
- Shipboard Scientific Acquisitions and Upgrades
Special Proposal Submission Requirements
Proposals for field programs that require the use of University-National
Oceanographic Laboratory Systems (UNOLS) ships in the following calendar
year must be submitted by the February 15 target date. For example, proposals
requesting ship time in the calendar year 2004 must be submitted by February
15, 2003. For further information, including the UNOLS Shiptime Request
Form, visit the UNOLS Web site, https://www.nsf.gov/pubsys/ods/getpub.cfm?ods_key=nsf0039.
1. Oceanographic Facilities (Ship Operations, Oceanographic Instrumentation,
Technical Services, and Shipboard Scientific Acquisitions and Upgrades)
for major oceanographic facilities is concentrated at institutions that
have substantial research programs in oceanography and also support the
research projects of other institutions. Before submitting a proposal for
support in these areas, institutions should seek advice from the relevant
program officer. Specific instructions on how to submit proposals can be
found in the publication Division of Ocean Sciences (OCE): Proposal
Submission Deadlines for Research Ship Operations, Instrumentation and
and Technical Services Support (NSF
2. Oceanographic Technology and Interdisciplinary Coordination
a wide range of multidisciplinary activities that broadly seek to develop,
transfer, or apply instrumentation and technologies that will benefit research
programs supported by NSF, and enhance the conduct of basic ocean sciences
research. Instrumentation and technology projects supported by this program
must be broadly usable and be of benefit to more than just one particular
research project. The scope of projects varies from short-term feasibility
studies to the development, construction, and at-sea testing of a prototype
to demonstrate that useful and applicable data can be obtained using it.
If ocean research is to be undertaken, joint consideration with the relevant
research program may be conducted for the instrument development phase
of the project. In addition, the Interdisciplinary Coordination Program
supports a limited number of research approaches that cross the four basic
ocean science subdisciplines (physics, chemistry, biology, and geology
3. Ocean Education Program
Provides support for programs—many
of them agency-wide—emphasizing educational opportunities at all levels.
The Division of Ocean Sciences has recently initiated a new program to establish
a network of coordinated centers that will facilitate collaborations and
communications between ocean science researchers and educators. These Centers
for Ocean Science Education Excellence (COSEE) will foster the integration
of ocean research into high-quality educational materials, allow ocean researchers
to gain a better understanding of educational organizations and pedagogy,
provide educators with an enhanced capacity to understand and deliver high-quality
educational programs in the ocean sciences, and provide material to the
public that will promote a deeper understanding of the ocean and its influence
on each person's quality of life and our national prosperity.