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Research and Data Products from HURL Submersible Dives


HURL's top 10 accomplishments over the past 30 years start with Makali‘i making the first dive into Oak Crater in Eniwetak Atoll on July 14 1981 and include long-term studies of Lo‘ihi submarine volcano and the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. Notable discoveries include an historically significant Japanese midget submarine and deep-sea corals that are some of the oldest living organisms on Earth..... Click here to read more!

Research Projects

Submersible/ROV/ship-based Research Program
Projects approved by the Center using OER award funds must further the NOAA mission by addressing the themes outlined below.  Preference will be given to those in marine managed areas under U.S. jurisdiction that provide data to guide large area ecosystem and resource management plans.
Thematic Research Areas

  • Extreme and Unique Environments.  Research will focus on unusual ocean environments in strategic locations, including ecosystems associated with deep sea corals, hydrothermal vents, methane hydrates, hydrocarbon seeps, submarine canyons, seamounts, and ridges.
  • Ecosystems of Island, Atoll, or Seamount Flanks, Including the Extended Continental Shelf.  Research will focus on characterizing ecosystems and assessing their health, including the identification of stressors and processes, to ensure their sound management.
  • New Resources from the Sea.  Research will focus on new resources from the sea, including marine biotechnology, energy, and cultural or non-living resources.
  • Ocean Dynamics: Episodic Events to Long Term Changes.  Research will focus on oceanic and climatic events taking place on a wide range of time and spatial scales along with their impacts on the success and survival of species and communities past, present, and future (e.g., deployment of time series sensors, collection of samples used as proxies).

Coral Reef ‘Wet” Diving-based Research Program
Late in 2002, the NURP headquarters office initiated a move to expand the scope of HURL's scientific reach to include SCUBA and advanced technical diving to greater depths, under the aegis of NOAA’s Coral Reef Conservation Program (CRCP).  This came at the request of the NURP Director to provide more exposure and diversification for HURL.  Projects must be geared towards management-oriented research and address one or more of the following threats facing U.S. coral reefs: fishing, pollution, coastal uses (including invasive species), climate change, and extreme events.
The focus of the program is field based research using wet diving methods, from snorkeling, regular SCUBA, to advanced technical mixed gas diving and rebreather technology.  The operational methodology has the PIs carrying out the dive programs themselves and under the supervision/approval of their institution’s Dive Safety Officer (DSO).  All diving programs at awarded institutions must be AAUS compliant.  One requirement of the grants is that diving equipment purchased on grant funds will be returned to HURL to build infrastructure and to ensure that a greater proportion of funds can be focused on supporting the research itself in future awards to the same or other investigators. 
HURL has been administering these extramural research funds from the NOAA Coral Reef Conservation Program since 2003.  This has resulted in the running of proposal calls in 2003, 2007, and 2008 where nearly $1 million was distributed under this program.  Project locations have included all over the main Hawaiian Islands, American Samoa, Australia, the Line Islands (i.e., Palmyra, Kingman, Jarvis, Kiribati), Guam, Saipan/CNMI, and throughout the Caroline and Marshall Islands.  Unfortunately, in 2010 the NOAA CRCP suspended their extramural research program until further notice and no additional funds have since been made available.  All projects except two are now complete.

Click here to see details on past projects.

Data Products

All video and data obtained through use of the deep-diving submersibles is catalogued and archived by the HURL Data Department so that it can be made available to scientists, educators and film producers. In addition to the video annotation database that describes all the animals seen on each dive, CTD, tracking and other data are collected. We are working on getting more of these products online. In the meantime, feel free to contact HURL's Data Dept Manager with any specific inquiries.


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