NOAA's Undersea Research Program: Description
Oceanography is a diverse science including research in biological, chemical, geological, and physical sciences. Undersea researchers are oceanographers who explore, make direct observations, and conduct experiments using scuba and advanced diving techniques, remotely operated or autonomous robots, human occupied submersibles, and underwater observatories. These approaches complement the various other ways of studying the seas. Resulting science is essential to, for example, sustained health and management of many economically important fisheries, essential fish habitats, and coastal ecosystems.
The Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), is home to the NOAA Undersea Research Program (NURP). The program resides under NOAA Research, one of five line offices in NOAA including: NOAA Fisheries, National Ocean Service, National Weather Service, and National Environmental Satellite Data and Information Service. NURP includes headquarters in Silver Spring, MD, and six regional centers of undersea expertise and technology. Through the centers, the program serves scientists and research needs in every coastal region of the nation, including the Great Lakes. The six regional National Undersea Research Centers (NURC) presently include:
- NURC at the University of Hawaii -- Hawaii and Western Pacific territories
- NURC at the University of Alaska -- west coast, Alaska and polar regions
- NURC at the University of Connecticut -- northeast U.S. and Great Lakes
- NURC at Rutgers University -- mid-Atlantic region
- NURC at the University of North Carolina Wilmington -- South Atlantic Bight, Florida Keys and Gulf of Mexico.