. "Appendix A: The History of the U.S. Academic Research Fleet." Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2009.
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Science at Sea: Meeting Future Oceanographic Goals with a Robust Academic Research Fleet
WORLD WAR II TO 1959
Oceanographic research greatly expanded from a few converted, donated vessels. Research was conducted from a wide range of vessels from military combatants to smaller donated ships. After the war, many of those ships stayed on, and surplus Navy and Army craft were acquired and converted. This period also saw additional institutions added to the research community (notably Texas A&M University, University of Miami, Oregon State University, University of Rhode Island, University of Hawaii, and Lamont Doherty Geological Observatory). The Office of Naval Research (ONR) was the main funding source at the beginning of the period, but gradually gave way to the newly created National Science Foundation (NSF), which was heavily influenced by ONR practices and people (Navy 225, 2000; National Research Council, 2000a).
1960 TO 1980
During this period, many new, purpose-built research vessels were acquired. Older, converted vessels were phased out as newly constructed ships entered the fleet. Federal funding accounted for more than 80 percent of these new vessels. The new ships tended to be larger than those being replaced, a trend that has continued through the present day. There was a huge upsurge of ocean research with major national and international programs, such as the International Geophysical Year, the International Decade of Ocean Expedition, the International Indian Ocean Expedition and the Global Atmospheric Research Program (Treadwell et al., 1988; Dinsmore, 1998; National Research Council, 1999; Byrne and Dinsmore, 2000; Navy 225, 2000). Ships acquired during this time included the Navy-funded vessels Conrad, Washington, and Thompson in the early to mid-1960s; the Navy-funded Global class ships Melville and Knorr in the late 1960s and early 1970s; and the NSF-funded Intermediate class vessels Oceanus, Endeavor, and Wecoma in the mid-1970s. The deep submersible Alvin was also designed, built, and tested and incorporated into the academic fleet, affording researchers access to the deep ocean.
Fleet growth came at a price. Ship operating funds did not keep pace with costs (Treadwell et al., 1988; Dinsmore, 1998; Byrne and Dinsmore, 2000). This issue was exacerbated by the gradual reduction of ONR ship-based research and Navy funding. Additionally, ship funding and ship scheduling mechanisms became contentious issues. Until the early 1970s, ships were funded through block grants to the operator institutions, putting researchers at non-operator institutions at a disadvantage. Operator institutions controlled the schedules and science parties, creating a “have and have-not” situation among ocean scientists that was resolved through