Partnership aims to boost public understanding of the global ocean

January 5, 2021: NOAA today announced a partnership with The Ocean Foundation to cooperate on international and national scientific efforts to advance research, conservation and our understanding of the global ocean.

“When it comes to advancing science, conservation and our understanding of the largely unknown ocean, NOAA is committed to building diverse and productive collaborations like the one with The Ocean Foundation,”  said retired Navy rear admiral Tim Gallaudet, Ph.D., assistant secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and deputy NOAA administrator. “These partnerships help accelerate NOAA’s mission to predict changes in climate, weather, the ocean and coasts, share that knowledge with communities, strengthen the Blue Economy, and conserve and manage healthy coastal and marine ecosystems and resources.”

Scientist at our Ocean Acidification Monitoring Workshop in Fiji collecting water samples
Scientists collect water samples during The Ocean Foundation-NOAA workshop on ocean acidification in Fiji. (The Ocean Foundation)

NOAA and The Ocean Foundation signed a memorandum of agreement in early December to provide a framework for cooperation on international and other activities of mutual interest.

The new agreement highlights several priorities for cooperation including:

  • understanding climate change and ocean acidification and their effects on oceans and coasts;
  • increasing coastal resilience and strengthening capacity for climate and acidification adaptation and mitigation;
  • protecting and managing natural and cultural heritage in special marine areas, including the National Marine Sanctuary system and the National Marine Monuments;
  • fostering research in the National Estuarine Research Reserve System,
  • and fostering the development of sustainable U.S. marine aquaculture to support healthy, productive coastal ecosystems and local economies.

“We know that a healthy ocean is the ‘life-support system’ for human wellbeing, planetary health and economic prosperity,” said Mark J. Spalding, President of The Ocean Foundation. “Our partnership with NOAA will allow both partners to continue our long-established international scientific relationships and research collaborations, including capacity building, that are the foundation for more formal international agreements — something we call science diplomacy — and build equitable bridges between communities, societies, and nations.”

Scientists in Mauritius track data on the pH of ocean water during a science workshop. (The Ocean Foundation)

The Ocean Foundation (TOF) is a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit international community foundation dedicated to support, strengthen and promote organizations that work to reverse the trend of destruction of ocean environments around the world. It supports ocean conservation solutions globally, focusing on all aspects of a healthy ocean, at local, regional, national and global levels.

The agreement builds on an existing collaboration between NOAA and The Ocean Foundation, to expand scientific capacity in developing nations to research, monitor and address the challenges of ocean acidification. The NOAA Ocean Acidification Program and TOF currently co-manage a quarterly scholarship fund, which is a part of the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network (GOA-ON).

These scholarships support collaborative ocean acidification research, training and travel needs, so early career scientists from developing countries can gain skills and experience from more senior researchers. TOF and NOAA have partnered in recent years on eight training workshops for more than 150 scientists in Africa, Latin America, the Pacific Islands, and Caribbean. The workshops have helped prepare researchers to establish some of the first long-term ocean acidification monitoring in their countries. Over the course of 2020-2023, TOF and NOAA will work together with GOA-ON and other partners to implement a program building capacity for ocean acidification research across the Pacific Islands region, funded by the U.S. Department of State.

The NOAA-TOF partnership is the latest in a series of new science and technology partnerships NOAA has created over the last year. The partnerships help support the Presidential Memorandum on Ocean Mapping of the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone and Shoreline and Near Shore of Alaska and the goals announced at a November 2019 White House Summit on Partnerships in Ocean Science and Technology.

The partnership can also support global ocean initiatives, including the Nippon Foundation GEBCO Seabed 2030 Project to map the entire seabed by 2030 and the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development.

Other key partnerships for ocean science, technology, and discovery include those with Vulcan Inc.Caladan Oceanic,Viking, OceanXOcean InfinitySchmidt Ocean Institute, and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

Media contact:

Monica Allen, NOAA, (202) 379-6693

Jason Donofrio, The Ocean Foundation, (202) 318-3178

This press release was originally posted by NOAA on