National Oceanographic Partnership Program


The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management's (BOEM) Environmental Studies Program (ESP) has been supporting research through the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP) since 1999 in nearly 40 partnership opportunities, leveraging nearly $35 million dollars in funding. Through NOPP, the ESP has partnered with the National Science Foundation (NSF), Office of Naval Research (ONR), Department of Energy (DOE), US Geological Survey (USGS), and several program offices at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Research includes marine mammal behavior and acoustics, exploration and research of deep-water habitats and coral and chemosynthetic communities, renewable energy research, wind and wave modeling, archaeological and biological analysis of shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico from World War II.

Excellence in Partnering Awards

2015: Atlantic Canyons: Pathways to the Abyss
Lead PIs: Steve W. Ross (University of North Carolina Wilmington, UNCW), Sandra Brooke (Florida State University, FSU), Stephen Viada, Continental Shelf Ocean Sciences Inc. (CSA Ocean Sciences)

The 2015 Excellence in Partnering Award recognizes the project team for the Atlantic Canyons: Pathways to the Abyss study. The project brought together 17 organizations to investigate the Norfolk and Baltimore Canyons from 2011 to 2013. Researchers found unexpected extensive deep-water coral ecosystems, a vast methane seep ecosystem, and large swaths of chemosynthetic mussel communities. They identified over 125 species of fish, documented historically important shipwrecks off Virginia’s coast, and deployed innovative sensing technologies to monitor oceanographic characteristics. In addition to the data and reports, project deliverables included a video, and educational and communication materials documenting the research and discoveries. BOEM, NOAA and USGS funded the research.

2011: Exploration and Research of Northern Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Natural and Artificial Hard Bottom Habitats with Emphasis on Coral Communities: Reefs, Rigs, and Wrecks 
Lead PI(s): Charles Fisher (PSU) and James Brooks (TDI Brooks International)

The project is recognized for its exceptionally diverse partnership - "scientists, graduate students, technicians, public outreach professionals, and industry specialists from a very broad spectrum of ocean sciences ranging from Federal regulating agency scientists to academic scientists to industry partners."

2009: Toward a Predictive Model of Arctic Coastal Retreat in a Warming Climate, Beaufort Sea, Alaska
Lead PI: Dr. Robert Anderson, University of Colorado, Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research

The long-term goal of this project is to understand the environmental drivers of extremely rapid coastal erosion in the Arctic, so that we can predict how present and future climate change might influence coastal erosion. The project team monitored erosion processes using time-lapse photography, by collecting meteorological and oceanographic data from sites along the coast, and by analyzing climactic and geographic data from the past few decades to identify trends in coastline position through time.

2006: Archaeological and Biological Analysis of World War II Shipwrecks in the Gulf of Mexico:  Artificial Reef Effect in Deep Water
Lead PI: Robert Church, C & C Technologies, Inc.

This multidisciplinary study focused on the biological and archaeological aspects of six World War II era shipwrecks in the north-central portion of the Gulf of Mexico, which were lost as a direct result of wartime activity between early May and late July in 1942.  All six shipwrecks were discovered during oil and gas surveys and reported to the MMS as a result of Federal regulations.  The shipwreck sites were investigated over an 18-day period using a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV) to determine site boundaries, National Register potential, preservation state and stability, and the potential for man-made structures or objects to function as artificial reefs in deepwater. Also a significant educational outreach component was implemented along with the scientific and historical components of the project.

2004: Estimating the Economic Benefits of Regional Ocean Observing Systems
Lead PI: Dr. Hauke L. Kite-Powell, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

The NOPP-sponsored project on estimating the potential economic benefits from new investments in regional coastal ocean observing systems in US waters was a two-year (2002-2004) effort involving a team of researchers from around the country. These findings suggest that annual benefits to users from the deployment of ocean observing systems are likely to run in the multiple $100s of millions of dollars per year.