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Expanding the Uses of Naval Ocean Science and Technology
lation assessment and monitoring efforts depend on adequate information on sea surface temperature, surface current patterns, and the depth of the thermocline. These parameters make it possible to estimate the location of fronts which are biologically active and may harbor significant populations of plankton and fish. Although information of this type is not technology, the Navy has data pertinent to fisheries interests, which could be transferred to the commercial sector through various forecasting and data distribution services.
Remote imaging techniques are important in locating and assessing fish stocks, an important component of fish stock management and development. The National Marine Fisheries Service is pursuing the use of lidar (light detecting and ranging) as a tool to track fish stocks, especially open-ocean stocks such as tuna and salmon. Smaller fish that swim and feed in schools could also be monitored with such a system (Borstad et al., 1992). Although much of the existing technology for remote imaging was originally developed for DOD use, it is beginning to be declassified and has great potential as an assessment tool (Hunter and Churnside, 1995).
Areas of ONR-supported research with direct application to fisheries interests lie mostly within ONR 32 and NRL 7000. Imaging techniques developed in these two divisions are beginning to be used for marine forecasting, and enthusiasm is building in the community for airborne assessment of fish stocks by these methods. Meteorologic and oceanographic data and modeling will be of interest to fisheries forecasting services.
The ocean and coastal environmental industry needs science and technology in two major areas: (1) passive and active observation systems (e.g., remote and in situ), and (2) predictive modeling. The primary need for these capabilities is in regional seas, bays, sounds, estuaries, and other coastal water bodies. Integrated systems for observation and modeling of coastal and nearshore waters would be of direct and immediate use in assessing the impact of accidental and planned discharges, site evaluation for nearshore and offshore structures, oil and gas exploration and development, disposal of wastes at sea, and routing of ships. At a larger scale, there is a primary need for cost-effective systems for ocean ship routing, studies of air-sea interaction and its influence on climate change, and analysis of environmental variability.
ONR has historically supported, and continues to sponsor, a wide range of hardware, software, and systems that might be a direct match to industry needs. These activities include the design and development of oceanographic instrumentation (e.g., acoustic ocean networks and modems, profiling current meters) needed to measure physical, chemical, and biological parameters. They also include the development and operation of systems for real-time global, regional, and local predictive modeling capabilities.