Oceanography The Official Magazine of
The Oceanography Society
Volume 06 Issue 03

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Volume 06, No. 3
Pages 138 - 140


REVIEW AND COMMENT • The Application of Marine Sciences in the Coming Decades

Melbourne BriscoeDavid Evans
First Paragraph

Carl Wunsch has written a compelling and important editorial in Science (15 Jan 93, p. 296–297), “Marine Sciences in the Coming Decades,” which is based on a 1992 study by the Ocean Studies Board of the National Research Council, called “Oceanography in the Next Decade: Building New Partnerships.” He points out that today’s societal applications of oceanography are built on yesterday’s basic, curiosity-driven research; further, he suggests that tomorrow’s support of such basic oceanographic research is endangered by shifts in national priorities and by a general tendency toward short-term benefits rather than a longer view. He argues that “the best oceanographic knowledge has not often been used [in policy decisions].” Finally, he suggests that the mission-oriented federal agencies (for example, NOAA, DOE, and EPA) should, “sustain the funding for basic scientists in these [mission] organizations, although the payback is possibly many years in the future.” He closes with the call for a mechanism that will permit “rational discussion and allocation of resources across the multitude of agencies involved.” There is an implication in his editorial that the mission agencies should provide a fraction of their funds to support basic research in academia, for it is upon this research base that the agencies’ programs depend.


Briscoe, M., and D. Evans. 1993. The application of marine sciences in the coming decades. Oceanography 6(3):138–140, https://doi.org/10.5670/oceanog.1993.11.

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