The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has selected Oregon State University to administer a collaborative marine research program in Newport called the Cooperative Institute for Marine Resources Studies, or CIMRS.
The research program, which examines marine ecosystems, undersea geologic features and marine life, was established at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore., in 1982, but the program’s funding renewal was open this year through a competitive application process.
The selection of OSU to continue operating the program will provide ongoing funding for at least five more years, and up to 10 years, according to NOAA officials.
“Oregon State has proven to be an excellent partner in marine research,” said Alexander MacDonald, deputy assistant administrator for the NOAA Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research and chair of the NOAA Research Council. “Through CIMRS it brings together researchers from our Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory and from our Northwest and Alaska Fisheries Science Centers.
“CIMRS science contributes greatly to NOAA’s climate and ecosystem research goals,” he added.
Projects funded through CIMRS will focus on four research areas, officials say. These include:
-- Seafloor processes, including hydrothermal vents, volcanoes and the micro-organisms that thrive in their vicinity;
-- Marine mammal acoustics, including acoustic technology to locate and identify marine mammal species, to study migration patterns and to study marine mammal responses to changing ocean environments;
-- Marine ecosystems research to understand how ecosystems function and change;
-- Protection and restoration of marine resources, including development of technology, research tools, and scientific approaches to coastal and marine management.
CIMRS scientists have made numerous discoveries and contributions, including the recent documentation of undersea volcanic eruptions and their effects on marine ecosystems by OSU geologist Bill Chadwick and colleagues at NOAA and beyond.
The renewed program will strengthen agency partnerships, officials say, including with NOAA Fisheries at its Northwest Fisheries Science Center’s research station in Newport.
“We are looking forward to continuing our valuable and innovative work with OSU scientists that will increase our understanding of the California Current ecosystem and support the priorities of the National Ocean Policy,” said John Stein, acting director of the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center.
"Oregon State University has a long tradition of innovative, relevant, cooperative research with NOAA, and the renewal of CIMRS brings significant value to both partners and the marine community, “ said Richard Spinrad, OSU’s vice president for research. “It also highlights the partnerships between OSU with the several agencies at the Hatfield Marine Science Center."
CIMRS is one of 18 NOAA cooperative institutes nationwide.