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News and Announcements

Origins and Activities

The Hawai'i Undersea Research Laboratory is the only U.S. deep submergence facility in the Pacific Rim tasked with supporting undersea research necessary to fulfill the mission, goals, and objectives of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), along with other national interests of importance. Over 30 years of submersible operations have resulted in nearly 1900 dives representing 9300 hours underwater, and a benthic ecology database derived from in-house video record logging of over 125,000 entries based on 1100 unique deep-sea animal identifications in the Hawaiian Archipelago. With emerging interest in marine resources of the Pacific and renewable energy from the sea, HURL's contributions will continue to play an essential role in scientific research and advanced technology. HURL was established by Cooperative Agreement in 1980 between NOAA and the University of Hawai‘i, at which point it became a Regional Center in NOAA's Undersea Research Program (NURP). In 2009, President Obama signed Public Law 111-11 authorizing both NURP and Ocean Exploration (OE), and their administration under a merged program called the Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER). The Center supports highly-rated, peer-reviewed proposals to conduct undersea research in offshore and nearshore waters of the main and Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and waters of the central, southern, and western Pacific, including the new marine national monuments. In addition, HURL accepts funded requests from private, state, or federal agencies and participates in international collaborative research projects.

Supporting the Mission

HURL supports the NOAA, national, and regional priorities by advancing knowledge of the Nation’s deepwater resources and marine processes which are crucial for effective ecosystem-based management. HURL's primary responsibility is to support academic- and government-based science and technology experts in developing solutions to problems facing the Pacific region, NOAA, and the Nation. Preference is given to those projects targeting marine managed areas under U.S. jurisdiction. Ecosystem studies are the largest component of our research program because of the geographic locations we serve, the unique seafloor features and habitats located there, and the cadre of scientists utilizing our submersible assets which are best suited to on-bottom focused investigations and targeted sampling.

Contact Us

For more information, please contact us at:

  • Hawai‘i Undersea Research Laboratory
  • 1000 Pope Road, Marine Science Building (MSB) 303
  • Honolulu, HI 96822 USA
  • tel: (808) 956-6335 • fax: (808) 956-9772
  • email:

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