Featured Image Credit: NOAA
By K. Snyder
The ocean, the final frontier. There is much of the ocean still unexplored by man, even with technological advancements and improved diving capabilities. Much remains to be discovered in the dark depths of the ocean.
Thankfully, dedicated institutions are hard at work to study the world’s oceans. We put together this list of 13 of the best research centers we could find around the world that are dedicated to the ocean and building a better understanding of its complexity.
The criteria for this list are: reputable scientific institutions specializing in marine research. Institutions whose primary missions are as aquariums or zoos have been left off of this list as they could form their own list entirely.
If you are an aspiring marine scientist or just have an interest in cutting edge ocean research, these are the places to keep an eye on!
In no particular order:
1. Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute
Together with the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory, WHOI is the largest independent oceanic research institution in the US. Known around the world for groundbreaking oceanic research including most famously, the discovery of the wreck of the RMS Titanic, WHOI is the most cited oceanic research organization in the world.
2. Scripps Institute of Oceanography
Located in sunny San Diego, Scripps is one of the oldest and largest centers for ocean research. Founded in 1903, one of its buildings has even been listed as a US National Historic Landmark.
3. Grad School of Oceanography at University of Rhode Island
Well-known for their impressive research vessel, the Endeavor, the GSO offers graduate degrees in Oceanography and is home to a unique scientific outreach program for sharing their discoveries.
4. Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute
MBARI is a sister organization to the world-famous Monterey Bay Aquarium but the two organizations have completely separate management teams and funding. MBARI is famous for advancements in microbial oceanography and the monitoring of harmful algal blooms.
5. Centre for Maritime Research and Experimentation (CMRE)
Formerly the Undersea Research Center for NATO, CMRE is a research facility that conducts undersea and maritime research for the NATO Alliance including port and ship protection, sonar risk mitigation, and maritime situational awareness. The facility is staffed by scientists from NATO member nations that rotate through on a 3-5 year cycle.
6. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
If you live in the US, chances are your weather report comes from data NOAA has gathered. Founded in 1970, NOAA is the premier organization in the US for the monitoring of Earth systems and communication of information about them. In additional to monitoring, they also issue severe weather warnings, and study marine resources to offer suggestions for their use and protection.
7. National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, New Zealand (NIWA)
Though smaller than many oceanic research institutes, NIWA has international importance because of its role in monitoring important environmental databases and collections.
8. Plymouth Marine Laboratory, UK (PML)
PML is unique in that since 2002, they have been an independent organization with a charitable status. They mainly focus on oceanic research related to climate change but also provide marine application services and products to industrial and commercial partners.
9. Institute of Marine Environment and Resources, Vietnam (IMER)
Internationally recognized, IMER cooperates with many other organizations for assessments of marine resources and the protection and conservation of ocean environments. IMER is managed by the Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology.
10. Australian Antarctic Division
Operating out of Australia, this division is in charge of some of the most important research projects in Antarctica including conservation of Antarctic wildlife, management of southern ocean fisheries and the impacts of climate change.
11. Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)
Operating out of the College of William & Mary, VIMS operates 3 campuses where they conduct surveys of various fisheries and an annual shark survey that has been operating since 1973.
Schmidt is a private non-profit foundation in Palo Alto, California created to advance oceanographic research, discovery, and knowledge.
13. Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences (BIOS)
For over 100 years BIOS scientists have worked to explore the ocean and research important local and global issues. Due to their location, they manage some of the longest-running observations in the world.