talent that can be applied to the questions posed. Concern has developed regarding the potential shortage of Ph.D.s in science and engineering in the 1990s and beyond in terms of both number and quality. The oceanographic community has, however, questioned this assertion of a lack of qualified doctorates. This section discusses the demographics of oceanography and relates its characteristics to research needs.

In examining ocean science, the board asked eight specific questions:

  • How many Ph.D.-level oceanographers are there, and at what rate has the number of Ph.D.-level ocean scientists changed over time?

  • How many ocean science doctorates are produced annually?

  • What is the present age profile of oceanographers in academia and the federal government, and has it changed over time?

  • Has the field matured in terms of becoming a separate discipline?

  • How has the percentage of women, minorities, and foreign nationals in the field changed over time?

  • Has the field changed in terms of academic emphasis among the major subdisciplines [physical oceanography (P.O.), chemical oceanography (C.O) and marine chemistry (M.C.), marine geology and geophysics (MG and G), biological oceanography (B.O.) and marine biology (M.B.), and ocean engineering (O.E.)]?

  • Has the balance of the field changed in terms of the relative size and importance of the major oceanographic institutions?

  • How are research oceanographers supported? What is the ratio of institutional to federal salary support for the oceanography community as a whole?

Data Sources

Information was collected from a variety of sources. Data on the demographics of oceanography was obtained from biennial reports (1973 to 1989) issued by NSF, called Characteristics of Doctoral Scientists and Engineers in the United States (NSF, 1975; 1977; 1979; 1981; 1983; 1985; 1987; 1989; 1991). In addition, the Ocean Studies Board surveyed the major ocean science institutions and federal agencies (Appendixes IV and V). These two sources form the basis for much of the information presented. Additional information on faculty ages and number of Ph.D.s graduating was obtained from Joint Oceanographic Institutions, Inc.

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