- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
Oceangoing Lewis and Clark Expedition
15 December 2000 7:00 pm
SAN FRANCISCO--Nearly 2 centuries after President Jefferson asked Meriwether Lewis and William Clark to explore the American West on a budget of $2500, oceanographers are calling for a similar journey of discovery through the world's oceans. Their vision, described here today at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union, carries a modern price tag: $750 million over 10 years. The funds aren't yet committed, but the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) will seek half of the first-year costs in its budget request for fiscal year 2002.
A June 12 order by President Clinton directed the U.S. Department of Commerce to come up with a long-term plan to understand and protect the sea, more than 95% of which remains unexplored. Within 4 months, two dozen marine scientists and educators completed their report, titled "Discovering Earth's Final Frontier: A U.S. Strategy for Ocean Exploration." Some of the panel's recommendations were released earlier this year (ScienceNOW, 4 October).
If the strategy wins support from Congress and the new Bush Administration, oceanographers will prepare a "signature mission" to circumnavigate the globe with the same spirit of open-ended discovery as Lewis and Clark's expedition, says panel chair Marcia McNutt of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California. The multiyear cruise would employ surface ships and deep-water submersibles to probe the ocean from the Arctic to the Antarctic and back. Scientists would pay special attention to the biology and geology of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), within 320 kilometers of the U.S. coast, to identify untapped resources such as promising pharmaceutical compounds.
The mission of discovery would expand the horizons of American oceanographers, who lag far behind their international counterparts, McNutt says. She points to Ireland, which is exploring the seabed off its coast in a 7-year project. Already, Irish scientists have mapped almost one-fifth of their EEZ, including potential gas reserves. "It's personally embarrassing that Ireland is ahead of our own nation in terms of exploring its EEZ," McNutt says.
Several federal agencies and the U.S. Navy would fund and conduct the research, with NOAA in the lead. "This is the first national report written by any nation that lays out a strategy for ocean exploration," NOAA administrator James Baker said today via conference call from Washington, D.C. "It's long overdue."