NOAA has selected Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, to lead a new federal/academic research partnership, called the Cooperative Institute on Marine Ecosystems and Climate (CIMEC) to study climate change and coastal ecosystems.
This new cooperative institute will replace the Joint Institute for Marine Observations (JIMO), which has supported collaborations between NOAA and UCSD scientists since 1991. NOAA selected UCSD through a competitive application process.
"Scripps Institution of Oceanography has a long history of leading discoveries in climate and marine sciences," said Steve Murawski, acting chair of the NOAA Research Council. "Our previous partnership brought unique capabilities of NOAA and UCSD together to advance marine science. We look forward to continuing our work together."
CIMEC membership will expand to include six other university partners: California State University, Los Angeles; University of California, Davis; University of California, Santa Barbara; Humboldt State University, Arcata; University of California, Los Angeles; and University of California, Santa Cruz.
The partnership provides scientists at these universities with support for research projects that may involve NOAA scientists, primarily at the NOAA Climate Program Office, the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center and other NOAA Cooperative Institutes.
"Scripps has had a collaborative relationship with NOAA since NOAA's inception and Scripps is home to two of the longest climate and ecological time series in the world. These long time series are absolutely critical to recognizing and testing hypotheses regarding climate variability and change," said Scripps oceanographer and outgoing JIMO Director Ken Melville. "I hope we will continue that tradition now with the added strengths of the other California campuses."
Research projects will focus on:
• collecting and analyzing data to improve our understanding of climate processes globally and within the southwestern U.S. marine environment;
• improving the understanding of ocean and atmospheric processes associated with climate change and its impacts on various spatial and temporal scales;
• improving the ability to understand marine ecosystem structure and function, to forecast algal blooms and fish and beach contamination and to protect threatened species, and;
• improving the ability to develop human coastal communities resilient to climate change and understanding of the relationships between these communities and natural ecosystems.
"CIMEC offers an ability for academic scientists to work with NOAA on problems of importance to society," said Scripps biological oceanographer David Checkley, who will serve as CIMEC's first director. "I'm particularly pleased about CIMEC following after JIMO because it facilitates ecosystem-based management of fisheries, which is a new direction for us, as well as continuing the longstanding work of JIMO in climate and ocean sciences."
The amount of NOAA funding is variable from year to year and is based on the number of projects the lead university proposes and NOAA approves.
NOAA supports cooperative institutes to promote research, education, training and outreach aligned with its mission. Cooperative institutes also coordinate resources among non-government partners and promote the involvement of students and postdoctoral scientists in NOAA-funded research. This unique setting provides NOAA the benefit of working with complimentary capabilities of a research institution that contribute to NOAA-related sciences ranging from satellite climatology and fisheries biology to atmospheric chemistry and coastal ecology.