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Requests for Proposals - Archived

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



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 are now being solicited for research in the Central Pacific using HURL's manned submersible Pisces V, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) RCV-150, and other equipment deployed from R/V Ka'imikai-o-Kanaloa, in the year December 1, 1998 through November 30, 1999. Expected areas of operations are: southern Hawaiian islands, the Northwest Hawaiian Ridge, and Johnston Island. Scientists and engineers at any university or research institution may apply. Preliminary enquiries should be directed to HURL's Science Director, Keith Crook or to a Program Coordinator.

Pre-proposals (not more than 4 double-spaced typed pages) should reach HURL by May 4, 1998. They should contain a summary of the proposed research including: hypotheses to be tested; a brief description of the experiments and methods to be employed; any relevant time constraints; the area of operations including latitude, longitude, and depth; and the undersea vehicle(s) of choice. This will ensure that appropriate research guidelines are addressed, and will permit operations staff to evaluate feasibility. On the basis of the pre-proposals, requests for final proposals will be issued, together with guidelines. Final proposals should reach HURL by June 8, 1998.

General support of at-sea operations, including vessel, submersible, and ROV time, and 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. 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 selected and ranked on the basis of scientific merit, vehicle suitability, programmatic goals and logistical considerations.


In 1999, NURP will be placing particular emphasis on research in Special Thrust Areas: Fisheries, New Products from the Sea, and Marine Sanctuaries and National Estuarine Research Reserves Research. Although HURL will carefully consider all requests of scientific or technical merit, preference is given to projects that fall within the goals of its four major programs described below. The HURL programs include the NURP Special Thrust Areas; each program is coordinated by a HURL scientist.

Program 1. Fisheries resources, benthic habitats and ecosystems
[NOAA Strategic Plan goals: Build Sustainable Fisheries; Recover Protected Species; Predict and Assess Decadal-to-Centennial Change; National Capabilities and Supporting Infrastructure. NURP Special Thrust Areas: Fisheries, Marine Sanctuaries Research]

This research program focuses on ocean island and seamount fisheries and ecosystems, and the biological and physical factors important in their maintenance. It includes habitat studies of benthic and pelagic communities, recruitment of organisms, ecosystem change, associated benthic and water column processes and productivity, and processes affecting faunal and floral distribution. Particular emphasis is placed on studies relating to fisheries assessment, protection of fish stocks, and the recovery of depleted fisheries and protected species. It includes studies to establish how ecosystems support commercial or potentially commercial living resources (fishes, precious corals, crustaceans), so as to improve the scientific basis for policy and management decisions; the development of criteria to assist reliable assessments and predictions of marine living resources; and the development of observing systems. Dr. E. H. Chave is the program coordinator, pro tem.

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 and Supporting Infrastructure. NURP Special Thrust Area: New Products from the Sea]

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 processes and enhance predictive models so as to improve short-term warning services. Loihi Volcano is a prime site for this work, which includes development of observing systems and monitoring submarine geophysical, geological and geochemical processes, using the Hawai'i Undersea Geo-Observatory to allow continuous, real-time observations. These observing systems provide a sound observational and monitoring capability. Dr. Alexander Malahoff is the program coordinator.

Program 3. Coral Reefs, Marine Carbonates and Seamount Benthic Surfaces and Habitats
[NOAA Strategic Plan goals: Predict and Assess Decadal-to-Centennial Change; Sustain Healthy Coasts; National Capabilities and Supporting Infrastructure. NURP Special Thrust Areas: New Products from the Sea; Marine Sanctuaries Research]

This research program focuses on aspects of coral reefs and marine carbonate sediments that are particularly apposite to HURL's equipment and facilities. It includes determining their ecological status, defining key biogeochemical processes, identifying new opportunities for biotechnological development, characterizing their roles in past and present climatic and ecosystem change and in the global carbon dioxide budget, and the development of new observing systems. The program also examines the nature and origins of seamount benthic surfaces and habitats, the biological processes and organisms associated with them, processes that have formed unique deposits, the records of global change that they contain, the potential environmental impact of future disturbances, and the opportunities they provide for biotechnological developments. The prime sites for these studies are the 200-mile EEZ around Johnston Island and the Hawaiian Chain, including their associated seamounts. Dr. John Wiltshire is the program coordinator.

Program 4. Coastal and Slope Processes
[NOAA Strategic Plan goals: Sustain Healthy Coasts: Advance Short-term Warning and Forecast Services; Promote Safe Navigation; Predict and Assess Decadal-to-Centennial Change; National Capabilities and Supporting Infrastructure; NURP Special Thrust Area: Marine Sanctuaries Research]

This research program focuses on physical and chemical processes that determine the morphology, substrates, stability, habitat potential, and susceptibility to pollution of the coastal zones and slopes of islands; their implications for coastal resource development and conservation; and the development of pertinent observing systems. 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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