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"The time is now to understand the composition and functioning of ocean ecosystems operating under multiple stressors."
~ United Nations 2020 



Innovation, Exploration, Excellence

Four decades of transforming and delivering ocean science focused on innovation, exploration, and excellence to address the most pressing challenges facing marine environments and to ensure the health and sustainability of our ocean


Jeff Napp, Director of Resource Assessment and Conservation Engineering Division, Alaska Fisheries Science Center, NOAA.


Jennifer Fisher of CIMRS deploys a net to collect samples of plankton along the Newport Line.
Photo: Nancy Steinberg


We work across disciplines and institutions, collaborating with agencies, industry, nonprofits, and international partners to conduct transdisciplinary research to address the greatest ocean challenges of our time.


We advance the use of cutting edge technology and innovation and enhance technical capacity to address the most pressing questions about the physical, biogeochemical, biological, and ecological functions of the ocean.


We prepare the next generation of ocean explorers with the skills, abilities, and knowledge to think critically and creatively, and to develop, use, and maintain new technologies and approaches that advance our understanding of ocean processes.



Coastal communities face sea level rise, storm surges, and tsunamis. Developing effective warning systems for public response, and leveraging the positive effects of coastal and marine natural infrastructure, is key to mitigating coastal hazards. Developing a framework that incorporates environmental and resource economics, ecology, geomorphology, geomatics, and engineering will help quantify the value of coastal protection options, identify coastal dune and beach management options, restore coastal wetlands, and allocate land use and construction of natural infrastructure.

Discovering, measuring, understanding, and predicting ecological impacts of natural chemical, biological, and geological processes between the solid Earth and Ocean. Researching seafloor processes contributes to NOAA’s objective of achieving a holistic understanding of marine ecosystems by exploration and research on hydrothermal vents and methane seeps, their impacts on the global ocean, and their unique chemosynthetic biological communities.

Ocean acoustics quantitatively describe sound in the sea, and help us learn about the ocean environment and its inhabitants. Hydroacoustic monitoring (listening to underwater sounds) has allowed scientists to measure global warming, listen to earthquakes and the movement of magma through the sea floor during major volcanic eruptions, and to record low-frequency calls of large whales. 

Marine renewable energy has the potential to power and support offshore aquaculture facilities, producing high-quality protein without the need for land, freshwater, or fertilizer. The co-location of marine renewable energy sites and offshore aquaculture facilities create opportunities for collaboration among government agencies, private industry, and international partners. The emerging field of marine microplastics includes the collection of sediment, sand, and surface-water to determine the amount of microplastics in the environment, their associated environmental fate, and their effects on organisms, including humans. Assessing the impacts of pharmaceuticals and other types of pollution present in marine environments can inform strategies to mitigate their effects.

CIMRS investigators study marine species distribution, marine ecosystems and habitats,  and marine genomics, an emerging field focused on how marine animals work, evolve, and adapt.

Changing ocean conditions are affecting marine ecosystems and resources, leading to shifts in marine productivity, biodiversity, community composition, and ecosystem structure. Understanding how ocean conditions influence the Earth's climate, and monitoring changes in ocean conditions, are key to predicting climate change stressors and developing strategies to enhance resilience.

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