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January 28th, 2015
FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute Co-Chairs New Report on ‘Ocean Science Over the Next Decade’

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Jan. 28, 2015—Shirley Pomponi, Ph.D., research professor and executive director of the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Ocean Exploration, Research, and Technology at Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute at Florida Atlantic University, is co-chair of a new report from the National Research Council that identifies ocean science research priorities over the next decade.

“Sea Change 2015-2025 – Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences” identifies eight strategic priorities for the next 10 years that will continue to advance scientific understanding of the ocean as well as assess the infrastructure needed to support this research. In addition, the report provides recommendations for aligning current and planned infrastructure and budgets with science priorities to achieve these research goals. Among the priority areas are the rate and impacts of sea-level rise; climate change effects on marine ecosystems; and better methods for forecasting geohazards such as tsunamis and earthquakes.

“This is a pivotal time for us to advance vital ocean science research over the next decade and beyond,” said Pomponi. “This report incorporates expansive input from the ocean science community to provide the National Science Foundation and other organizations with a strategic direction and vision for ocean science research.”

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is the leading funder of basic research in the ocean sciences and the decadal survey was undertaken at the request of the Division of Ocean Sciences at NSF. The committee for the decadal survey gathered input from the ocean sciences community through presentations by scientific and academic leaders, literature reviews, virtual town hall meetings and discussions with scientists. To help determine priorities from the information they collected, the committee applied four criteria: transformative research potential, societal impact, readiness, and partnership potential.

“This report will help to transform how we commit our national resources and further develop infrastructure for ocean science research,” said Daniel C. Flynn, Ph.D., vice president for research at FAU. “Florida Atlantic University is entrenched in marine and coastal research and issues that impact us globally and we are extremely pleased to have an integral role in this important ocean sciences report.” 

Over the next several weeks, members of the report’s authoring committee will be presenting a series of seminars at research institutions around the U.S. Pomponi will provide an overview of the report on Thursday, February 12, 2015 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. at HBOI in Fort Pierce. The seminar will also be webcast and a link will be available on HBOI’s website at

In addition, a public webinar is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, 2015, at 3 p.m. EST. It will feature presentations by co-chairs of the report’s authoring committee Pomponi and David Titley, professor of practice in meteorology and director of Penn State’s Center for Solutions to Weather and Climate Risk, followed by a Q & A session. To register, visit

The Committee on Guidance for NSF on National Ocean Science Research Priorities: Decadal Survey of Ocean Sciences includes representation from HBOI at FAU, Pennsylvania State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, OceanGeeks, LLC, University of California, San Diego, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Brown University, University of East Anglia, United Kingdom, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, Harvard University, Oregon State University, University of South Florida, University of Washington, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, International Maritime, Inc., Princeton University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography/University of California, San Diego.

The study was sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The National Research Council is the principal operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering.

To download the full report, visit

About Florida Atlantic University:

Florida Atlantic University, established in 1961, officially opened its doors in 1964 as the fifth public university in Florida. Today, the University, with an annual economic impact of $6.3 billion, serves more than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students at sites throughout its six-county service region in southeast Florida. FAU’s world-class teaching and research faculty serves students through 10 colleges: the Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters, the College of Business, the College for Design and Social Inquiry, the College of Education, the College of Engineering and Computer Science, the Graduate College, the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College, the Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine, the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing and the Charles E. Schmidt College of Science. FAU is ranked as a High Research Activity institution by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. The University is placing special focus on the rapid development of three signature themes – marine and coastal issues, biotechnology and contemporary societal challenges – which provide opportunities for faculty and students to build upon FAU’s existing strengths in research and scholarship. For more information, visit

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