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Requests for Proposals - Archived

(NOAA's Undersea Research Center for Hawai‘i and the Western Pacific)

Announces Opportunities for Research in the central Pacific Ocean in 1997 as part of the National Undersea Research Program



The Hawai'i Undersea Research Laboratory (HURL), operates under a grant to the University of Hawai'i from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). HURL is one of the six National Undersea Research Centers that comprise NOAA's National Undersea Research Program (NURP).

Pre-proposals for research in the central Pacific in the funding year commencing March 1, 1997, using HURL's submersible Pisces V and/or remotely operated vehicle (ROV) and other equipment from R/V Ka'imikai o Kanaloa, are now being solicited. Expected areas of operations are: southern Hawaiian islands, the Northwest Hawaiian Ridge, and possibly Johnston Island. Scientists and engineers at any university or research institution may apply. Preliminary inquiries should be directed to HURL's Science Director, Keith Crook, to ensure that appropriate research guidelines are addressed, and to permit operations staff to evaluate feasibility.

Pre-proposals (not more than 4 double-spaced typed pages) should reach HURL by mail or e-mail by July 1, 1996. They should contain a summary of the proposed research including: PI's name and affiliation, hypotheses to be tested; brief description of the experiments and methods; any relevant time constraints; the area of operations including latitude, longitude, and depth; the undersea vehicle(s) of choice; and the proposed number of deployments. On the basis of the pre-proposals, requests for final proposals will be issued, together with guidelines. Final proposals should reach HURL by August 5, 1996.

General support of at-sea operations, including vessel, submersible, and ROV time, food, and lodging, is provided at no cost to participating investigators and their associates. Participants should expect to meet other costs associated with their projects. However, subject to the level of funding provided to NURP in FY 1997, HURL may be able to provide financial support for travel, special equipment items (especially those used undersea) and supplies. Associated research funding should be solicited from granting agencies through the usual channels.

Following peer review of the proposals and a rebuttal process, and based on recommendations from HURL's Science Review Panel, research projects will be ranked and selected according to scientific merit, vehicle suitability, programmatic goals and logistical considerations. All requests of scientific or technical merit will be carefully considered. However, research related to the programs described below is of particular interest to NOAA. HURL wishes to increase its activities in Programs 1 & 4.


In order to contribute to the goals of NOAA's Strategic Plan, and to strengthen HURL, the research conducted by the Center is oriented along programmatic lines. Preference is given to projects that fall within the goals of one of four major programs, each of which is coordinated by a HURL scientist. The following descriptions indicate the scope of each program.

Program 1. Habitats, Ecosystems and Fisheries Resources

NOAA Strategic Plan goals: Build Sustainable Fisheries; Recover Protected Species

This research program focuses on seamount ecosystems and the biological and physical factors important in their maintenance. Habitat studies of benthic and pelagic communities, recruitment of animals, associated benthic and water column processes and productivity, and processes affecting faunal distributions are all part of this program. Particular emphasis is placed on assessing the status of protected species; on how these ecosystems support commercial or potentially commercial living resources (fishes, corals, crustaceans), so as to improve the scientific basis for policy decisions; and on the development of criteria to assist reliable assessments and predictions of living marine resources. Dr. E. H. Chave is the program coordinator.

Program 2. Submarine Volcanic Processes

NOAA Strategic Plan goals: Predict and Assess Decadal-to-Centennial Change; Advance Short-term Warning and Forecast services; National Capabilities & Supporting Infrastructure

This research program focuses on submarine volcanology: the geology, geophysics, geochemistry, and biology of volcanic processes, their implications for island development and their contributions to the global carbon dioxide budget. It includes studies of their more remote effects (such as tsunamis) in order to better understand natural process and enhance predictive models so as to improve short-term warning services. Loihi Volcano is a prime site for this work, which includes monitoring submarine geophysical, geological and geochemical processes using an Ocean Bottom Observatory. This will soon be replaced by the Hawai'i Undersea Geological Observatory, to allow continuous, real-time observations. These observing systems will provide a sound observational and monitoring capability. Dr. Alexander Malahoff is the program coordinator.

Program 3. Marine Carbonates and Ferromanganese Oxides

NOAA Strategic Plan goals: Predict and Assess Decadal-to-Centennial Change; Sustain Healthy Coastal Ecosystems

This research program focuses on two groups of marine minerals. First, on carbonates, the formation and dissolution of which are relevant to NOAA objectives relating to the global carbon dioxide budget and linkages between forcing agents and paleoclimatic change. Second, on ferromanganese oxide crusts, their origins, the biological processes and organisms associated with them, processes that have formed large deposits, and the potential environmental impacts of any future marine mineral crust mining, including tailings disposal. These studies address NOAA objectives: promote clean coastal waters, economic vitality, and well-planned and revitalized coastal communities. The prime sites for studies are in the 200-mile EEZ around Johnston Island and seamounts in the Southern Hawaiian Chain. Dr. John Wiltshire is the program coordinator.

Program 4. Coastal and Slope Processes

NOAA Strategic Plan goals: Sustain Healthy Coastal Ecosystems: Advance Short-term Warning and Forecast services; Promote Safe Navigation; Predict and Assess Decadal-to-Centennial Change

This research program focuses on physical processes that determine the morphology, substrates, stability, habitat potential, and susceptibility to pollution of the coastal zones and slopes of islands and the summits and slopes of seamounts. It includes studies of ongoing secular processes in relation to their products and the acquisition, in selected areas, of swath bathymetric data using full bottom-coverage technologies. It examines the effects of extreme events, such as hurricanes, tsunamis, and submarine landslides, so as to improve basic understanding and predictive modeling of these natural phenomena as they impact coastal habitats and their biodiversity, economic vitality, and revitalized coastal communities. It also includes studies of long-term records of sea level, such as those contained in drowned reefs and notches, that reflect the interplay between glacio-eustatic changes in sea level, and uplift, tilting & subsidence of islands due to lithospheric processes. An objective here is to extract long-term climate records and predict long-term climate change. Dr. Keith Crook is the program coordinator.

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