Ocean Science News

BOEM develops, conducts and oversees world-class scientific research to inform its policy decisions. By using science, regulatory frameworks and input from others, the bureau considers the potential for BOEM activities to impact the ocean’s physical characteristics, biological resources and marine or coastal uses that are important to the environment and society.


BOEM Partners with NASA on Air Quality

Under the Clean Air Act, BOEM has jurisdiction to monitor and enforce air quality requirements in federal waters in the Central and Western Gulf of Mexico. Most physical air quality monitors do not fare well long term when used in the marine environment – they can rust, corrode and become contaminated. Consequently, BOEM partnered with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to test the feasibility of using satellites to measure air quality pollutants in federal waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

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whale with mouthful of sand lances

Little Fish, Big Impacts

BOEM provides sand to coastal communities to restore and protect coastal areas affected by storms of increasing frequency and power. Making sand from the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) available to coastal communities helps them improve their resiliency in the face of climate change. The sand that BOEM provides communities comes from the seafloor on the OCS. It is often the same sand preferred by a tiny fish that humans and animals greatly depend on – the slender, silvery sand lance.

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Lophelia colony. Image courtesy of Brooke et al. 2005, NOAA-OER Florida Deep Corals.

On a Deep SEARCH for Science

Since 2017, the Deep Sea Exploration to Advance Research on Coral/Canyon/Cold seep Habitats (Deep SEARCH) study has explored the deep-sea ecosystems of the U.S. Mid- and South Atlantic. Deep SEARCH’s primary goal is to help BOEM better understand and predict the location of various seafloor communities off the U.S. southeastern coast that may be vulnerable to disturbance from resource development activities.

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